Udinese 0 - 1 Liverpool

Match info: Europa League - Group A at Stadio Friuli

Date: 06/12/2012 KO: 18:00 Ref: D Gomes Att: 12,000

Home team/scorers Scores Away team/scorers

Udinese

0
vs
1

Liverpool

Jordan Henderson 23

FT (ht: 0-1)

  • Last Updated: December 6 2012, 21:29 GMT

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers praised match-winner Jordan Henderson for the goal against Udinese which put them through to the last 32 of the Europa League but accepted it was by the finest of margins.

Henderson acknowledges the crowd after the win
Henderson acknowledges the crowd after the win

Henderson's first European goal, and only third since his £16milllion summer 2011 transfer, put the Reds top of Group A but there was almost a sting in the tail.

Udinese, who had Giovanni Pasquale sent off 10 minutes from the end, almost snatched the draw which would have sent Liverpool crashing out with the last kick of the game when captain Antonio di Natale blasted over.

Young Boys' victory over Anzhi meant Liverpool had to win to progress and Henderson's first-half strike meant they finished group winners.

"He is a great lad and works hard and has come in over the last month and made a good contribution to the team," said Rodgers of the midfielder, who has been a fringe player for most of the season.

"It was a very good finish and he was unfortunate not to get a second goal as the keeper made a wonderful save.

"He has that quality to arrive in the box and he has a finish in him so I am delighted for him and his hard work is paying off."

Had Di Natale scored the inquest would have begun on where it had gone wrong for Rodgers - undoubtedly conceding a late equaliser to Young Boys a fortnight ago - but the miss kept the European bandwagon rolling.

"It is that moment when there is literally 20 seconds left and we've given away the ball. It was very close," admitted the Northern Irishman.

"Hopefully it is a sign we have a little bit of luck going our way because maybe a couple of months back that would have gone in and we would be out of the competition.

"There was no margin for error tonight, I felt we had to win the game because we were in a difficult group against good teams.

"Over the course of all the games, how we have played and progressed through the tournament I think we are deserved winners of the group.

"We can rest well, focus on the league and look forward to next February."

Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin, whose side had already been eliminated before kick-off, was pleased with the performance.

"I want to thank my team because they have gone out of the competition with dignity and their heads held high," he said.

"They showed they could give Liverpool a game. We finished with four points so it is right we should go out, but the mistakes we made in this competition were not made tonight.

"I would have preferred if Luis Suarez had scored a wonder goal, but it was from a set-piece and I am unhappy about that."


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