"We are all playing well and will try to carry on," said Karim Benzema after his goal gave Real Madrid CF victory against a disappointed Liverpool FC and a last-16 spot.
Article top media content
• Karim Benzema scores the only goal as Madrid beat Liverpool to reach the last 16
• Benzema is delighted with the performance, as is James Rodríguez
• Brendan Rodgers and Martin Škrtel rue a lack of bite in front of goal
• Next games: Basel v Real Madrid, Ludogorets v Liverpool (26 November)
Karim Benzema, Madrid forward
We're through. We played a great match today against a good Liverpool side and we're very happy. We are all playing well and we will try to carry on as we are doing for the rest of the season.
Today I felt good, but like the whole team I have to carry on working. I can see that the side is doing well – we play together, we defend and attack as a unit, and that is important for everyone.
It was important to win today, get the three points and we did that. We scored and didn't concede, and that's good as it allows us to be a bit more relaxed going into the last two games. We're in good form and we will continue.
James Rodríguez, Madrid forward
They were tight at the back and strong tactically, but we always tried to show patience, look for space and I think at the end of the day our win was deserved. We didn't know too much about some of their players, but they were good, although luckily enough so were we. In the last few games I've been comfortable and also happy because we're in top form. It gives us peace of mind that we're through to the last 16, because there's still a lot of the group phase to go and we can breathe easy.
We were very good, like in the last few games. I'm just looking to help, and if I can score or lay on goals, all the better.
Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid coach
It was a good game – we played at a good, high rhythm. We controlled play without taking risks at the back. We did not have too many chances but we always controlled the game. It is a very good period for Karim Benzema – maybe the best since I have been here. I love his work for the team and he is a very important player for us.
It is not about Cristiano Ronaldo not scoring and not breaking the [goalscoring] record. The important thing was us winning. Cristiano had a good game, he tried to link up play, and he will score next time, I am sure. We need to get first place secured, first and foremost. What makes me happy right now is how the side is playing and how they are motivated. Records are not that important. They are nice but I prefer to get three points.
Gareth Bale looked good. I did not use him from the start because of the type of injury he had. He looked fine, he had no problems and he will start on Saturday. Cristiano is happy with the win, I do not think he is annoyed at not scoring.
Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool manager
First of all we're disappointed with the result, in particular after an excellent performance. We defended very, very well and started on the front foot against a side who are the best in the world. I thought we were very unfortunate not to get something from the game. The players showed courage and we always wanted to stay in the contest. Our attitude and commitment was superb – I thought we deserved at least a point from it.
Kolo Touré was terrific. Lucas Leiva, who has not played a lot this season, was good. Emre Can is improving his fitness, Adam Lallana was excellent, and Fabio Borini showed movement and intensity. Lazar Markovic played well and will improve. It might have seemed a gamble [to play these players] but I did not see it like that.
You have to trust your new players as a coach and that's what I did, and thankfully we put in a good performance. When criticism comes, deserved or not, it can be hard to take, but I'm not worried about that. I think the supporters backed us brilliantly tonight as they always have done throughout my time. A combination of great support and an outstanding performance – we did well. We have a big job and have to win the next game to take qualification down to the last match.
Martin Škrtel, Liverpool defender
I think we did well today, we defended well but unfortunately we weren't dangerous enough in front of goal. We conceded one goal, lost 1-0 and it is no good for us, but I think the performance was alright and we just need to keep going. You play against one of the – if not the – best teams in the world at a great stadium, and there are a lot of new players in the team but I think they responded well and played well, the performance was alright.
It is just a shame about the result. You could see it was not a disaster. We played well and unfortunately we couldn't get a point, but if we play like this in the next games we can get points and qualify from the group.
Kolo Touré, Liverpool defender
At the end of the day we lost three points which isn't good for us, but we showed great character because the manager changed a lot of players. Those who came in have been working really hard and we showed we have a great squad. After the 3-0 result at home it was important that we gave a great response because Liverpool is a big club.
When you play for Liverpool you have to fight hard every game to show what a great club it is, and for us it was really important that we played well, but at the end of the day we lost when we might have nicked a draw. Real Madrid are the best team in the world right now. They have fantastic players, they are really good with the ball, defensively really clever too, but I think we showed great character and showed that we are a great side as well and deserve to be in the UEFA Champions League.