Brendan Rodgers hails Jordan Henderson after hitting Liverpool's winner

Brendan Rodgers: Looks on as Jordan Henderson salutes the Liverpool supporters

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers heaped praise on Jordan Henderson after his goal against Udinese sent them through to the knockout stages of the Europa League.

The midfielder fired home his third Liverpool goal on 23 minutes to put the Reds top of Group A and into the last 32.

"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.

"It was a very good finish and he was unfortunate not to get a second goal as the goalkeeper made a wonderful save.

"He has that quality to arrive in the box and he has a finish in him so I am delighted for him and his hard work is paying off."

Udinese's hopes of an equaliser looked bleak when Giovanni Pasquale was shown a second yellow card with 10 minutes remaining.

However, the hosts almost snatched a draw that would have eliminated Liverpool with the last kick of the game, captain Antonio Di Natale blasting over the bar.

"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," said Rodgers.

"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."

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