By EddieC, 07-12-2012, 12:59:49
Jordan Henderson’s first goal of the season saw Liverpool through to the knock out stage of the Europa League with a 1-0 victory over Udinese.
|Only the endeavours of former Liverpool stopper Daniele Padelli prevented the scoreline being higher but the keeper was powerless to prevent Henderson firing the ball past him on 23 minutes.
It means the Reds move into the last 32 of the competition as Group A winners after results elsewhere went in their favour – with Anzhi suffering a 3-1 defeat to Young Boys in Switzerland.
After a cagey start, the match burst into life when Suso weaved his was past two defenders before firing a cross in – to which Udinese replied with a swift counter-attack, resulting in Mathias Ranegie heading wide of Pepe Reina’s goal.
Liverpool took the lead when Suso received a Luis Suarez flick from a corner. The young Spaniard played the ball to Henderson who hammered a fierce shot past Padelli to make it 1-0.
A flurry of activity in the closing minutes of the first half saw Suarez attempt an audacious overhead kick from close range, but Padelli managed to push the ball behind at full stretch.
The second half started as the first had finished – with Liverpool in the ascendancy. Suarez slid the ball in to Suso, who should have doubled the scoreline with his shot yards from goal. Suarez then fired narrowly over the bar five minutes later.
There was one scare for Liverpool when Pablo Armero spun away from Suso and burst forward, but Skrtel headed his cross behind. From the resulting corner, Ranegie towered above the Reds’ defence but was unable to keep his headed shot below the crossbar.
Henderson thought he had netted a second just after the hour mark. Shelvey won the ball in midfield and played through Enrique, who whipped in an inch-perfect cross. Henderson arrived right on cue and side-footed towards the top corner but Padelli saved again.
It had become a case of seeing the game out, and after Giovanni Pasquale was shown a second yellow card for a challenge Raheem Sterling the Reds held out for the win.