Rodgers admits relief as Liverpool make safe progress in Europa League

Brendan Rodgers has revealed that he was living on his nerves during Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Udinese on Thursday, as a goal for the Serie A side would have dumped their Premier League opponents out of Europe, the Daily Mirror has reported.

The result in the group’s other game meant that Liverpool had to win to be sure of qualification but the Reds were unable to add to Jordan Henderson’s first-half goal to calm their manager’s nerves. Instead, Udinese went close to equalising with what proved to be the last kick of the game, Antonio Di Natale shooting over the bar for the already-eliminated Italians.

Liverpool go through as group winners after Young Boys of Switzerland beat Anzhi Makhachkala, who were already confirmed in the next round. But the Russian side’s defeat means Liverpool top the table and Young Boys end up in third, missing out on progress despite the three teams finishing level on 10 points.

Rodgers said: “My heart was in my mouth at the end – it was that moment, with 20 seconds left and you give away the ball. Di Natale, with the quality he has, you know he can hurt you,” adding: “We controlled the game, we passed the ball and we hid the game and to do that with so many young players in the team, then it is a big learning curve for the players and they will grow after this.

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