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Dec 7, 2012

Rodgers: We deserved to progress

Brendan Rodgers has admitted Liverpool needed a little bit of 'luck' to seal progression to the knockout stages of the Europa League after a last-ditch miss from Udinese captain Antonio di Natale in the 1-0 win on Thursday.

Jordan Henderson was the unlikely saviour for the Reds, scoring the winner in the 23rd minute with a tidy finish.

But di Natale had the chance to send Liverpool packing with the last kick of the game and Rodgers believes the wayward shot could be a positive omen for his side.

"It is that moment when there is literally 20 seconds left and we've given away the ball," Rodgers said. "It was very close. 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. 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."

Henderson, who has been on the outer in Rodgers' side this season, earned the plaudits of Liverpool's boss after a confident match-winning performance.

"He is a great lad and works hard and has come in over the last month and made a good contribution to the team," Rodgers said. "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 ma delighted for him and his hard work is paying off."

Udinese went into the match without any chance of qualification, but coach Francesco Guidolin believes his side restored their European credentials by testing Liverpool.

"I want to thank my team because they have gone out of the competition with dignity and their heads held high," he said. "They showed they could give Liverpool a game. We finished with four points so it is right we should go out, but the mistakes we made in this competition were not made tonight.

"I would have preferred if Luis Suarez had scored a wonder goal, but it was from a set-piece and I am unhappy about that."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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