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UEFA Europa League
December 6, 2012
• Stadio Communale Friuli, Udine
Referee: Duarte Nuno Pereira Gomes
• Attendance: 7650
J. Henderson 23'
Also pleasing for Reds fans is the impressive squad depth displayed in midfield, with their regular substitutes impressing throughout the ninety minutes. Jamie Carragher was solid at the back, Jordan Henderson and Jonjo Shelvey brought dynamism going forward, and Stewart Downing put in a number of dangerous crosses on the left flank including the delivery from which young forward Suso assisted Henderson's winner. Their progression in the Europa League ensures they will continue to have opportunities to play into the New Year.
Liverpool go through as Group A winners as the final whistle is called on both their victory and that of Young Boys in Switzerland over Anzhi. The Zebrette did pose a threat throughout the match but the Reds will feel that their qualification is a deserved reward for their professional performance in the Stadio Friuli. Brendan Rodgers' side impressed in possession but created few clear chances, and have much to thank Jordan Henderson for after his goal under half an hour into the match settled the side's nerves. Raheem Sterling's introduction also helped after his clever turn resulted in Giovanni Pasquale's dismissal, and the Reds saw out that last few minutes a man up.
90' + 3'
Udinese hit the ball up to the Liverpool penalty area and the Reds head away, but the ball finds its way to back to an Udinese player, who rolls the ball across the edge of the box to his teammate before Di Natale darts into the box to receive a flick on. It's the one chance he needs to put Liverpool out of the competition, but he blasts the ball over the bar and laughs as the referee blows the full-time whistle.
90' + 2'
Udinese win a freekick after Raheem Sterling climbed on Danilo in an attempt to head a left-wing cross in for a second goal.
Luis Suarez dribbles into the box from the left flank and wins a corner in stoppage time, with his teammates shielding the ball by the corner flag, but they give the ball away. Udinese however are unable to capitalise and the ball reverts to Liverpool.
Liverpool look comfortable as they retain possession against 10-man Udinese, which is how Brendan Rodgers would like it to be with hitman Di Natale on the pitch.
Antonio Di Natale
Experienced Italy international Antonio Di Natale appears in place of Ranegie, and could derail Liverpool's hopes with his deadly finishing.
Young Boys are leading Anzhi 2-1, meaning that if the scores stay as they are, Liverpool will top their group and benefit from seeding in the knockout stages. If they concede a goal however they will be knocked out.
Yellow Card Jamie Carragher
Jamie Carragher concedes a freekick outside the edge of the box with a foul on Fabbrini, but Badu's ambitious attempt smashes harmlessly against the wall.
Yellow Card Badu
Yellow/Red Giovanni Pasquale
Raheem Sterling smartly turns after receiving the ball outside the right edge of the box and Giovanni Pasquale accidentally brings the forward down. The defender receives his second yellow card and departs the field of play with a red card, but his teammate Badu objects and is given a yellow card for his trouble.
Ranegie rises to meet a corner from the right flank, but the striker heads wide of the left post. Reina's goal kick is completely wayward though and Udinese get the ball back for a throw-in.
The Zebrette are attempting to build attacks through possession, but a pass to Armero on the left flank is wayward and gives the Reds back possession.
Udinese are enjoying more possession on edge of the box, but when the left-flank cross comes into the box Skrtel is available to clear.
Yellow Card Joe Allen
Tom Marchall Bailey: A number of chances in Udine, with both clubs going close to grabbing, what you would think will be, the decisive second goal in this game. First, Mathias Ranegie connects from a corner brilliantly but his bullet header flew just inches over Pepe Reina's crossbar. Minutes later Jordan Henderson almost grabs his second after catching a cross on the volley superbly but found Daniele Padelli in inspired form, as he tipped over with a stunning stop. The Italian stopper wasn't finished there though, as he denied Luis Suarez with an even better stop after the Uruguayan had engineered himself a chance.
Joe Allen wins the ball and feeds Downing who slips in Suarez. He cuts inside one defender, twists past another before his close-range effort spins behind off the keeper Padelli's strong right hand in an excellent save.
Yellow Card Giovanni Pasquale
Benatia comes off in place for Reinthaler, with each having only just returned after a long spell out through injury.
Henderson's sidefoot volley is expertly tipped over the bar by Padelli. Superb from the former Liverpool keeper, but a fine effort from Henderson.
Sweden Ranegie heads narrowly over the bar from a left-wing corner. The Swedish international giant is over 6-foot and will need to be closely marshalled in the Reds' box.
Young Boys are back in front against Anzhi. That puts Liverpool top as things stand, but leaves them more vulnerable to elimination as well.
Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu picks up the ball after an Udinese spell of possession but can only blast his effort wide of Reina.
Joe Allen dribbles clear of his midfield and tries to find Suarez, but his pass is intercepted.
Stewart Downing stylishly creates space for a cross on the left flank and aims for Suarez but the cross is cleared out towards the edge of the box and Padelli is forced to save the driving shot that follows.
Liverpool start brightly and Suarez advances towards the box before passing to Suso to his right. The Spaniard slices his shot well wide however.
The referee gets the second half underway!
Udinese bring on centre-back Mehdi Benatia for central midfielder Giampiero Pinzi, with Danilo moving out from defence into midfield as the Zebrette opt to continue with a 4-4-2 rather than moving to their often-used 3-5-2.
Udinese started well but Liverpool have been in the ascendancy ever since Jordan Henderson took the lead after 23 minutes when he drilled into the net following a corner. The Reds' group rivals Young Boys got the first goal against the group leaders Anzhi but the Russian side have since equalised. If Young Boys take the lead Liverpool will need to record a victory also in order to stay level on points and go through by virtue of their superior head-to-head record.
45' + 1'
Luis Suarez makes a spectacular bicycle kick from a right wing corner and keeper Padelli has to make a reflex save to tip the effort over the bar. The Uruguayan complains he was being fouled by the defending Giovanni Pasquale, but the referee blows the half-time whistle.
Faraoni crosses after advancing down the right flank to receive a brilliant ball over the top of the Reds' defence, and Armero is on hand to put the ball back in from the left flank, but Skrtel and Carragher clear comfortably.
Luis Suarez wins a corner on the right flank after receiving a through-ball from Johnson. Suso meets the delivery but is unable to convert.
Young Boys are 1-0 up over Anzhi in Berne. If that scoreline stays the same Liverpool will need to win to go through the group.
Giampiero Pinzi powers a shot at Reina from the edge of the area and the Spaniard is quick to distribute. Downing is again quick to move the ball on to Jose Enrique on the left flank, and the Spaniard drives a low cross which Padelli manages to hold on to.
Yellow Card Suso
Downing intercepts a loose pass and breaks forward before playing the ball out to Suarez on the left. The Uruguayan neatly picks out Suso, but a heavy touch lets him down and the youngster is booked for a rather foul on Pereyra as he looks to regain possession.
Shelvey looks to let Suso's pass run through for Suarez, but Danilo is alert to intercept the pass.
Fabbrini runs at the Liverpool defence and shows class to create space for a shot from the edge of the box, which forces Reina to dive to his right to save.
Luis Suarez is only just offside as he reaches a through ball past centre-back Thomas Heurtaux.
Martin Skrtel commandingly dispossesses left-back Giovanni Pasquale as the Udinese man looks to get towards the left byeline.
Danilo clears following a Liverpool attack down the right flank, and Liverpool are now stroking the ball around with class across the back four.
A brilliant piece of combination play involving Luis Suarez on the left byeline sees Downing aim a low cross from inside the box into Glen Johnson who turns the ball into the net, but the effort is disallowed for an offside on Downing.
Goal Jordan Henderson
Liverpool win a corner on the left flank and Luis Suarez jumps away from goal to meet Stewart Downing's delivery. The header flies to the right post but is picked up by Suso, who calmly rolls the ball back to Henderson who accurately drills his shot under a crowd of players and into the back of the net.
Giampiero Pinzi makes a fine tackle on Suarez, but he then fouls Shelvey as they contest the loose ball. Free kick 30 yards from the Udinese goal for Liverpool.
Roberto Pereyra forces Pepe Reina to acrobatically tip over his curling shot after the Argentine cut inside from the left flank and aimed a curving shot towards the top right corner. Glen Johnson clears the delivery but Ranegie gets another chance to head at goal which Reina collects.
Yellow Card Diego Fabbrini
Jonjo Shelvey is felled by a sliding tackle from Diego Fabbrini, in what looks a dangerous foul. Red cards have been shown for similar but the young striker gets away with a yellow card.
Udinese break quickly down the left flank through Columbian international Pablo Armero, and having got the ball up the pitch Armero is able to create space for a dangerous cross from the left flank into the box. The tall striker Ranegie meets the delivery but is unable to direct his effort on target.
Luis Suarez wins a throw-in on the left flank after Faraoni's unconvincing header away. Jose Enrique takes the throw and after a spell of possession on the edge of the box Suso stings the palms of keeper Padelli from the right edge of the box.
Nuri Sahin has had to depart after the Liverpool staff were unable to treat his nosebleed successfully, so Jonjo Shelvey appears in his place.
Udinese have been known for counterattacking in their past successes and break after Joe Allen gives the ball away. Liverpool get back in numbers and although right-back Marco Faraoni tries to slip forward Diego Fabbrini down the right channel, he is unable to reach the pass.
Brendan Rodgers' side have had more possession in the opening few minutes, but Sahin has had to go off the pitch for treatment so the Reds are temporarily down to 10.
Nuri Sahin takes a corner from the right flank and goalkeeper Daniele Padelli, who played one match for Liverpool a few years ago, punches firmly clear.
Martin Skrtel and Udinese targetman Matias Ranegie are knocked to the ground after a clash of heads but each recover after a minute on the floor.
And the referee gets the game underway at the Stadio Friuli.
Liverpool: Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher, Jose Enrique; Henderson, Allen, Sahin; Suso, Suarez, Downing. Subs: Jones, Cole, Assaidi, Coates, Sterling, Shelvey, Wisdom.
Udinese: Padelli, Faraoni, Heurtaux, Danilo, Pasquale, Pereyra, Agyemang-Badu, Pinzi, Armero, Fabbrini, Ranegie. Subs: Brkic, Di Natale, Benatia, Marsura, Berra, Reinthaler, Frison.
If Liverpool win this game, they join Anzhi Makhachkala in the knockout stages. Lose it and they're out. If they draw, they need to hope that Young Boys don't beat the Russians.
A very good evening to you and welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play commentary of Udinese v Liverpool in the Europa League. I'm Arthur Virgo and here come the teamsheets...
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