Brendan Rodgers delighted after victory over Udinese sees Liverpool progress
Reds win 1-0 in Italy
Friday 07 December 2012
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes his side took another significant step forward with qualification for the last 32 of the Europa League.
Jordan Henderson's first-half strike, his maiden European goal, against 10-man Udinese was enough for the Reds to top Group A.
However, it could have been a very different story had substitute Antonio di Natale scored with the last kick of the game, an equaliser being enough to send the Merseysiders out after Young Boys won 3-1 at home to Anzhi.
Now Rodgers is looking forward to concentrating on his side's league form for the next couple of months.
"We won and that is good for our future," Rodgers said. "We had two objectives coming into this stage of the tournament, our 10th game in the competition.
"Firstly, qualification was important and secondly, we wanted to give experience to some of younger players and we have done that.
"At the end, when they had 10 men on a difficult pitch, I thought our idea was better - control the game, pass and hide the ball - especially with young players in the side.
"This is the challenge we have to make them better players and educate them in the game whilst progressing and thankfully we've done that.
"It was always going to be a tight group and you can see how it finished (Liverpool, Anzhi and Young Boys all on 10 points), but I said to the players I always thought we could finish top."
There have been a few ups and downs along the way, but Rodgers believes Liverpool are starting to gather momentum both in Europe and domestically.
"I am absolutely delighted because they have been superb through the campaign and their league form is improving and it is really good for our momentum," he added.
"We could have been more comfortable, we had the opportunity to score goals in good areas and that was mostly down to great goalkeeping. I don't think the players could have done much more.
"There was no margin for error and 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."
Latest in Sport
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?
WWE Raw results: Brock Lesnar suspended for post-Wrestlemania 31 rampage after losing title to Seth Rollins
Chelsea's best XI of the season so far: Petr Cech has been better than Thibaut Courtois
WrestleMania 31: The Undertaker begins a new streak after tombstoning Bray Wyatt
Louis van Gaal: Manchester United boss reveals that being a 'slow player' made him a better manager on warts and all documentary
- 1 Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
- 2 Trevor Noah: Jon Stewart's replacement faces online criticism over 'anti-Semitic' tweets
- 3 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 4 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
- 5 Syrian child photographed 'surrendering to camera because she thought it was a gun'
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers