Liverpool have qualified for Europa League round of 16, after a well-deserved 1-0 victory over German club Augsburg in the second leg at Anfield, Thursday. Liverpool won the tie 1-0 on aggregate after the first leg finished in a goalless draw at SGL arena last week.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has always said Europa League is an important competition for the Reds, and as a result he fielded a solid team. Liverpool looked sharp from the first minute and were awarded a penalty for a handball early on, with James Milner slotting home the spotkick in the fifth minute.
As has been witnessed in recent matches, Liverpool have dominated games, controlling possession, but their performance in the final third has been a cause of concern. The link-play between Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino was exceptional, but they did not have anything to show for their efforts.
The trio seems to have a great understanding of one another's position. However, they need to find a way to score goals.
Despite Liverpool being in full control of the game, Augsburg were always in with a chance as long as the score remained just 1-0. They would have required a single away goal to knock Liverpool out of the Europa League. Liverpool looked a bit shaky in the last 20 minutes and Augsburg came pretty close to scoring as well, but goalkeeper Simon Mignolet made some decent saves in the final quarter.
Liverpool defenders were conceding way too many fouls in the danger area, to keep their fans at the edge of their seats. The Reds came close to an exit when Konstantinos Stafylidis curled an freekick over the wall, which went just inches away from goal.
However, Klopp was excited to see his team emerge victorious, and move onto the next round.
"The freekicks were the biggest challenge for us. But it was a really good game and it was absolutely deserved; everybody who saw the game would have to say we deserved to win and were the better team and created chances," Liverpool football club official website quoted Klopp as saying.
"We only had one problem – we didn't use them and score often enough. That's how football is sometimes. For us, it's still a long way and the only problem was we couldn't control the game in the last 20 minutes."
"But now, after the game, with a 1-0, I am completely fine. As far as I know, there are no injuries. It was hard, that's how it should be, and now we are in the next round – well deserved."
Liverpool now have a huge clash coming up, Sunday, as the Reds are set to face Manchester City in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley. Their offensive line will have to convert their chances against City, who have some incredibly talented players in their squad, and are coming off a win in the Champions League.