Rodgers hails Henderson as Reds progress
Published 07/12/2012 | 05:00
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers praised match-winner Jordan Henderson for the goal against Udinese which put them through to the last 32 of the Europa League, but accepted it was by the finest of margins.
Henderson's first European goal, and only his third in any competition since a £16m summer 2011 transfer, put the Reds top of Group A, but there was nearly a sting in the tail as Udinese almost snatched a draw when Antonio di Natale blasted over in injury-time.
Young Boys' 3-1 victory over Anzhi meant Liverpool had to win to progress and Henderson's first-half strike ensured they finished group winners.
"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."
Had Di Natale scored the inquest would have begun on where it had gone wrong – undoubtedly conceding a late equaliser to Young Boys a fortnight ago – but the miss kept the European bandwagon rolling.
"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 (pictured above).
"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, I felt we had to win the game because we were in a difficult group against good teams."
MATCH REPORT– PAGE 4