Henderson makes mark as Liverpool survive scare

Udinese 0 Liverpool 1

The Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, praised match-winner Jordan Henderson for the goal against Udinese that put the club through to the last 32 of the Europa League but accepted the victory was by the finest of margins.

Henderson’s first European goal, and only his third in any competition since his £16m 2011 transfer from Sunderland, put  Liverpool 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 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 goal meant the visitors won the group.

Liverpool’s trouble this season has been a reliance on Luis Suarez, playing his first European away match for the club this season, to provide the goals. Rodgers has called for others to contribute and in recent weeks Daniel Agger, Jonjo Shelvey, Jose Enrique and even Joe Cole have chipped in. Tonight it was the turn of Henderson.

“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 but the miss kept the European campaign on track. “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.”

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.

Man of the match Skrtel.

Match rating 6/10.

Referee D Gomes (Por).

Attendance 12,000.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there