Liverpool return home from Udinese delayed

Preparations for West Ham match disrupted

Liverpool's pre-match preparations for Sunday's trip to West Ham were disrupted slightly when they were unexpectedly forced to stay overnight in Italy.

After last night's 1-0 win over Udinese which booked their place in the last 32 of the Europa League the team were scheduled to fly back to Liverpool.

However, a problem with their plane meant they were unable to take off and they had to spend the night in a hotel.

Coaching staff tried as best they could to keep the post-match routine to which the players were accustomed and Press Association Sport understands they undertook a pool recovery session this morning ahead of their return flight which is expected to see them arrive back mid-afternoon.

The team are due to travel to London tomorrow for their Barclays Premier League clash with the Hammers buoyed by their progress to the European knockout stages.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes his side took another significant step forward by topping Group A courtesy of Jordan Henderson's first-half strike.

Udinese substitute Antonio di Natale almost scored with the last kick of the game and an equaliser would have been enough to send the Merseysiders out after Young Boys won 3-1 at home to Anzhi.

Instead 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."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living