Saturday, 8 December 2012

Udinese v Liverpool

With a good win over Southampton at the weekend, Liverpool focused their attention on the Europa League and in securing a safe passage to the knockout stages. 

Rodgers took a strong side over to face already-eliminated Udinese who themselves had a familiar face to Liverpool with former red Daniele Padelli in goal. 

Both sides started well but the first opening came from Liverpool with Suso swishing past two defenders to put in a dangerous cross which was cleared safely and set Udinese on the attack down the right with the resulting cross finding the head of Ranegie who powered a header just wide of post.

Pereyra caused trouble moments later by unleashing a shot which evaded his teammates and dipped towards Reina who tipped it over the bar.

Udinese were made to pay for not converting their early chances as Liverpool opened the scoring in the 23rd minute as Suarez directed a corner to the back post which after being flicked on by Suso found the path of Henderson who hammered past Padelli to put Liverpool in front.

Just before the break, Suarez could have added to the score with an overhead kick which looked to be on target until Padelli managed to put it behind the goal.

After the interval, Liverpool continued their attack as Suarez fooled two defenders which allowed Suso some space to test Padelli but as the ball came to him he failed to hit the target.

News of Young Boys leading against Anzhi meant for Liverpool to go through it was win or bust and it was nearly bust as Armero headed for goal after spinning past Suso but luckily for Liverpool, Skrtel directed the cross away to safety and from the resulting corner, Ranegie powered a header at goal only to see it creep over the crossbar.

Henderson should have hit a brace on the hour after Shelvey gained possession put in Enrique who swept in a brilliant cross which found Henderson who hit towards the top corner only to be thwarted by Padelli.

Downing continued the pressure in finding Suarez who scythed past two to poke towards goal but yet again Padelli kept the ball out of his net with an amazing save.

Udinese's fight was dealt a crucial blow after Pasquale was shown a second booking for a dangerous challenge in Sterling and Liverpool looked from there to see the game out but with the last kick of the game, their hopes came so near to disaster after Di Natale ran on to a pass and was in on goal with the chance to condemn Liverpool and send Young Boys through but as his shot flew over the bar, Liverpool's blushes were spared.

The final whistle went and Liverpool progressed safely meaning European football will definitely be on schedule in 2013 and even better thanks to Anzhi's defeat, Liverpool topped the group and go into the draw as a seeded team.

Next up is the trip down to London to face West Ham which in the past has been a tough game but after last week's humiliation of Chelsea, the Hammers will be confident of a double over the European participants.