Kenny Dalglish happy with first European win with Liverpool

Kenny Dalglish had a late Dirk Kuyt header to thank for his first European win as Liverpool manager last night.

Kuyt powered home the only goal of a tricky Europa League tie against Sparta Prague with just five minutes of the second leg remaining at Anfield.

The 1-0 aggregate win secured a place in the last 16 and a clash against Portuguese side SC Braga.

It was Dalglish's first taste of continental victory as Reds boss having not competed on the European stage during his first spell in charge from 1985-91 due to a ban on English clubs.

Dalglish, appointed until the end of the season after the departure of Roy Hodgson seven weeks ago, said: "I had never done it before and I quite enjoyed it.

"It's a fantastic football club and I was lucky enough to be asked to come back.

"But I'm only here managing a football club in the Europa League because of the work that was done before me by the players and Roy.

"It is a great honour for me to be sitting here in charge of this football club but an even bigger honour to be here on a European night and also winning."

Both sides squandered numerous chances to win a scrappy encounter at Anfield but persistence eventually paid off for Liverpool.

David Ngog, Joe Cole, Raul Meireles and Lucas had all gone close before the hard-working Kuyt connected with a Meireles corner.

Dalglish said: "They were a good strong side and it was a difficult game for us across two legs but I thought we deserved to win.

"I think the boys deserve great credit for the way they went about their work - for their determination and their effort - to get a result.

"They were superb and the pride they took in themselves and the club was rewarded in the end with a goal."

Liverpool did not risk captain Steven Gerrard due to a groin injury while Glen Johnson also missed out with an Achilles problem.

Defenders Martin Kelly and Daniel Agger were both forced off and Sotirios Kyrgiakos ended the game with a nasty cut above the eye which required bandaging.

Veteran Jamie Carragher had been left on the bench but came on at right-back for the second half after the exit of Kelly, therefore making a British record 137th appearance in Europe.

Dalglish said of the 33-year-old: "He has been a magnificent servant to the football club. He has been here since he was about 12.

"I'd rather have him with us than against us. He is a great credit to himself, the football club and professional football in general."



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