Udinese 0 Liverpool 1: Reds finish top of the group after Henderson's first-half strike
19:54 GMT, 6 December 2012
20:21 GMT, 6 December 2012
Midfielder Jordan Henderson's maiden Europa League goal saw Liverpool progress to the last 32 as Group A winners with a 1-0 victory over 10-man Udinese in Italy.
It was only his third strike for the club he joined for 16million in the summer of 2011 – and his first since May 8 – but he would have had another had it not been for a brilliant reaction save from former Liverpool goalkeeper Daniele Padelli.
But with Young Boys beating Anzhi the goal was the difference between the Reds reaching the knockout stages for the ninth time in 11 attempts and crashing out.
Paint the town Red: Jordan Henderson grabbed scored as Liverpool progressed in the Europa League
Udinese: Padelli, Faraoni, Heurtaux, Danilo, Pasquale, Pereyra, Agyemang-Badu, Pinzi (Benatia 46), Armero, Fabbrini, Ranegie (Di Natale 85), Benatia (Reinthaler 65). Subs Not Used: Brkic, Marsura, Berra, Frison.
Sent Off: Pasquale (80).
Booked: Fabbrini, Pasquale, Agyemang-Badu.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher, Jose Enrique, Henderson, Allen, Sahin (Shelvey 12), Suso (Sterling 71), Suarez, Downing. Subs Not Used: Jones, Cole, Assaidi, Coates, Wisdom.
Booked: Suso, Allen, Carragher.
Goals: Henderson 23.
Referee: Duarte Gomes (Portugal)
Europa League tables, fixtures and results
In finding the net Henderson joined a
small but illustrious club of Michael Owen, Fernando Torres and Phil
Neal to score for Liverpool in Italy.
Liverpool's trouble this season has
been a reliance on Luis Suarez, playing his first European away match
for the Reds, to provide the goals.
Manager Brendan Rodgers has called
for others to contribute and in recent weeks Daniel Agger, Jonjo
Shelvey, Jose Enrique and even Joe Cole have chipped in.
/12/06/article-2244173-166296A6000005DC-119_634x385.jpg” width=”634″ height=”385″ alt=”Delight around: The goal caps an impressive run of form for Henderson, and his team-mates were thrilled” class=”blkBorder” />
Delight around: The goal caps an impressive run of form for Henderson, and his team-mates were thrilled
It was not all plain sailing,
however, as Liverpool's game plan had to be altered in just the 12th
minute when Nuri Sahin was forced off with a bloody nose after getting
caught in the face, meaning an early introduction for the Reds' leading
European scorer this season Shelvey.
The hosts, despite having nothing to
play for, created the early chances with Mathias Ranegie heading wide
and Roberto Pereyra forcing goalkeeper Jose Reina to tip over his
Suarez's first shooting chance came
from a free-kick 20 yards out but he drilled it into the wall but
Henderson took full advantage of his first sight of goal.
A month ago against Anzhi in Moscow
the England Under-21 midfielder had been hesitant in front of goal but
he had no time to be in the 24th minute.
Head for the heights: Martin Skrtel was domineering at the heart of Liverpool's defence
Captain's performance: Alongside Skrtel, the recalled Jamie Carragher led by example
Stewart Downing's corner dropped to
Suarez and although his header only reached Suso the young Spaniard had
the presence of mind to lay the ball back for Henderson to drill a shot
In truth the visitors failed to
properly test Udinese's second-choice goalkeeper, who made just one
appearance in May 2007 for Liverpool while on loan from Sampdoria.
Udinese briefly threatened when Reina
had to make a low save from Fabbrini's long-distance shot but Liverpool
finished the stronger.
Suso looped over a stooping header
from Shelvey's cross and Suarez, having fired over an angled shot,
forced Padelli into a fingertip save with a close-range overhead effort
from the last kick of the half.
Margins of error: Udinese fought every inch with Liverpool all over the pitch in front of their fans
Suarez and Suso both had shooting
opportunities early in the second half but failed to hit the target
while Ranegie powered a header just over as the hosts pressed for the
Henderson must have thought he had
doubled his tally in the 65th minute when he perfectly timed his
side-foot volley from Jose Enrique's cross but Padelli stuck up a hand
to tip it over.
Four minutes later the goalkeeper
produced another stunning stop to deny Suarez from close range after the
Uruguay international had jinked past three players in the penalty
Stretching it: Udinese goalkeeper Daniele Padelli had to be at his best on several occasions
However, just when Udinese started to
step up the pressure for an equaliser their chances were diminished by a
red card for Giovanni Pasquale.
Having already been booked for
clattering into the back of Suso he was shown a second yellow 11 minutes
from time for tangling with Sterling.
Substitute Antonio di Natale almost
produced the cruellest of endings when he fired over with the last kick
of the match but Liverpool survived – just.
Having closed out only their fourth
victory in 10 matches on Italian soil they can now put Europe to bed
until February and focus on improving their Premier League position.