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Liverpool scrape past Augsburg in Europa League

By Carl Markham

Published 25/02/2016

Liverpool's James Milner (centre) celebrates scoring his side's first goal from the penalty spot with team-mates Philippe Coutinho (right) and Roberto Firmino during the UEFA Europa League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 25, 2016.
Liverpool's James Milner (centre) celebrates scoring his side's first goal from the penalty spot with team-mates Philippe Coutinho (right) and Roberto Firmino during the UEFA Europa League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 25, 2016.
Liverpool's players (top row L-R) Liverpool's French defender Mamadou Sakho, Liverpool's Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino, Liverpool's English defender Nathaniel Clyne, Liverpool's German midfielder Emre Can and Liverpool's English striker Daniel Sturridge, (bottom row L-R) Liverpool's Spanish defender Alberto Moreno, Liverpool's English midfielder James Milner, Liverpool's English midfielder Jordan Henderson, Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva and Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho line up for a photograph ahead of the UEFA Europa League round of 32, second leg football match between Liverpool and Augsburg at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 25, 2016. / AFP / Paul ELLISPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's English striker Daniel Sturridge reacts to missing a chance during the UEFA Europa League round of 32, second leg football match between Liverpool and Augsburg at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 25, 2016. / AFP / Paul ELLISPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Augsburg's players line up for a photograph ahead of the UEFA Europa League round of 32, second leg football match between Liverpool and Augsburg at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 25, 2016. / AFP / Paul ELLISPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Kostas Stafylidis of Augsburg and Jordan Henderson of Liverpool compete for the ball during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Divock Origi of Liverpool and Paul Verhaegh of Augsburg compete for the ball during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Augsburg's Greek defender Kostas Stafylidis (3rd L) misses with this late freekick during the UEFA Europa League round of 32, second leg football match between Liverpool and Augsburg at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 25, 2016. / AFP / Paul ELLISPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Roberto Firmino (C) of Liverpool is blocked by Ragnar Klavan (L) and Christoph Janker (R) of Augsburg during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Liverpool's Roberto Firmino reacts as he rues a missed chance on goal during the UEFA Europa League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 25, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: PA Wire.
Liverpool's Portuguese midfielder Joao Carlos Teixeira (R) vies with Augsburg's Turkish midfielder Halil Altintop during the UEFA Europa League round of 32, second leg football match between Liverpool and Augsburg at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 25, 2016. Liverpool won the game 1-0 (1-0 on aggregate). / AFP / Paul ELLISPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp gestures on the touchline during the UEFA Europa League round of 32, second leg football match between Liverpool and Augsburg at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 25, 2016. Liverpool won the game 1-0 (1-0 on aggregate). / AFP / Paul ELLISPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: James Milner of Liverpool applauds supporters after the 1-0 win in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Augsburg's Konstantinos Stafylidis (centre) reacts as he rues a missed chance on goal late in the game, during the UEFA Europa League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 25, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: PA Wire.
Liverpool's German midfielder Emre Can (R) controls the ball as Augsburg's Turkish midfielder Halil Altintop looks on during the UEFA Europa League round of 32, second leg football match between Liverpool and Augsburg at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 25, 2016. / AFP / Paul ELLISPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Augsburg players argue with referee Clement Turpin after the first half penalty kick decision during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool looks on during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Mamadou Sakho of Liverpool and Ragnar Klavan of Augsburg compete for the ball during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Liverpool fans show their support in the stands before the UEFA Europa League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 25, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. PA Wire.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool looks on during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool looks on during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Players and match officials line up prior to the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Liverpool's Emre Can and Augsburg's Alexander Esswein (left) battle for the ball during the UEFA Europa League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 25, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: PA Wire.
Matchday scarves are on sale outside the stadium prior to the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Augsburg supporters make their way to the stadium prior to the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: A fan shows off the matchday scarf prior to the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Fans gather in front of the stadium prior to the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Committed to the cause: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Daniel Sturridge talk to the media yesterday ahead of Augsburg clash

Liverpool scraped past Augsburg and into the last 16 of the Europa League after a nervy 1-0 win at Anfield.

James Milner's fifth-minute penalty proved decisive but despite creating a number of chances it was far from convincing.

Klopp's verdict on the win over FC Augsburg

Jürgen Klopp shares his thoughts on tonight's progression to the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League...

Posted by Liverpool FC on Thursday, 25 February 2016

However, the job was completed, just, without too much damage - and the need for energy-sapping extra-time - to allow Jurgen Klopp and his players to concentrate on Sunday's Capital One Cup final against Manchester City.

Aside from the result the real positive was another 65 minutes in the bank for Daniel Sturridge, making his third consecutive start for the first time since last March, who looked Liverpool's most dangerous player and will be the key man again at Wembley.

Even before kick-off the numbers were loaded in Liverpool's favour as they had played German opposition 16 times at Anfield and never lost, winning 13 matches and keeping 12 clean sheets.

But those figures hardly added up to much in the context of a game which became increasingly tense with such a slender lead.

Following a scare after just 46 seconds when Caiuby fired over after being given a free run through, the hosts settled into their stride and were ahead by the fifth minute.

Dominik Kohr and Caiuby got themselves in a tangle trying to deal with Jordan Henderson's cross resulting in the former handling.

Milner tucked the penalty inside Marwin Hitz's left-hand post and just out of the reach of the goalkeeper for his second successive spot-kick in home European games.

Liverpool's attacking trio of Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino were displaying a greater understanding of each other on their third consecutive start together and that caused Augsburg plenty of problems in the final third.

Liverpool fans show their support in the stands before the UEFA Europa League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 25, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. PA Wire.
Liverpool fans show their support in the stands before the UEFA Europa League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 25, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. PA Wire.
Liverpool's players (top row L-R) Liverpool's French defender Mamadou Sakho, Liverpool's Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino, Liverpool's English defender Nathaniel Clyne, Liverpool's German midfielder Emre Can and Liverpool's English striker Daniel Sturridge, (bottom row L-R) Liverpool's Spanish defender Alberto Moreno, Liverpool's English midfielder James Milner, Liverpool's English midfielder Jordan Henderson, Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva and Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho line up for a photograph ahead of the UEFA Europa League round of 32, second leg football match between Liverpool and Augsburg at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 25, 2016. / AFP / Paul ELLISPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Augsburg's players line up for a photograph ahead of the UEFA Europa League round of 32, second leg football match between Liverpool and Augsburg at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 25, 2016. / AFP / Paul ELLISPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Kostas Stafylidis of Augsburg and Jordan Henderson of Liverpool compete for the ball during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Divock Origi of Liverpool and Paul Verhaegh of Augsburg compete for the ball during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Augsburg's Greek defender Kostas Stafylidis (3rd L) misses with this late freekick during the UEFA Europa League round of 32, second leg football match between Liverpool and Augsburg at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 25, 2016. / AFP / Paul ELLISPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Roberto Firmino (C) of Liverpool is blocked by Ragnar Klavan (L) and Christoph Janker (R) of Augsburg during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Liverpool's English striker Daniel Sturridge reacts to missing a chance during the UEFA Europa League round of 32, second leg football match between Liverpool and Augsburg at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 25, 2016. / AFP / Paul ELLISPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Roberto Firmino reacts as he rues a missed chance on goal during the UEFA Europa League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 25, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: PA Wire.
Liverpool's Portuguese midfielder Joao Carlos Teixeira (R) vies with Augsburg's Turkish midfielder Halil Altintop during the UEFA Europa League round of 32, second leg football match between Liverpool and Augsburg at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 25, 2016. Liverpool won the game 1-0 (1-0 on aggregate). / AFP / Paul ELLISPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp gestures on the touchline during the UEFA Europa League round of 32, second leg football match between Liverpool and Augsburg at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 25, 2016. Liverpool won the game 1-0 (1-0 on aggregate). / AFP / Paul ELLISPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: James Milner of Liverpool applauds supporters after the 1-0 win in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Augsburg's Konstantinos Stafylidis (centre) reacts as he rues a missed chance on goal late in the game, during the UEFA Europa League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 25, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: PA Wire.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Players and match officials line up prior to the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Augsburg players argue with referee Clement Turpin after the first half penalty kick decision during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Liverpool's James Milner (centre) celebrates scoring his side's first goal from the penalty spot with team-mates Philippe Coutinho (right) and Roberto Firmino during the UEFA Europa League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 25, 2016.
Liverpool's German midfielder Emre Can (R) controls the ball as Augsburg's Turkish midfielder Halil Altintop looks on during the UEFA Europa League round of 32, second leg football match between Liverpool and Augsburg at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 25, 2016. / AFP / Paul ELLISPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool looks on during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Mamadou Sakho of Liverpool and Ragnar Klavan of Augsburg compete for the ball during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool looks on during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool looks on during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Liverpool's Emre Can and Augsburg's Alexander Esswein (left) battle for the ball during the UEFA Europa League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 25, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: PA Wire.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Augsburg supporters make their way to the stadium prior to the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: A fan shows off the matchday scarf prior to the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Fans gather in front of the stadium prior to the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Matchday scarves are on sale outside the stadium prior to the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

It was only the smart reactions of Hitz which kept the score to 1-0 at half-time as he saved from Coutinho, brilliantly tipped over Firmino's deflection and denied Sturridge at the same near post with another outstanding low stop.

But despite their dominance there was the occasional concern at the other end with Simon Mignolet palming away left-back Kostas Stafylidis' shot and Caiuby rolling a shot wide having rounded the goalkeeper from a short backpass by midfielder-turned-centre-back Lucas Leiva.

Sturridge should have put the game beyond Augsburg just after the break when a misplaced pass by Christoph Janker was returned by Coutinho but, having side-stepped Ragnar Klavan, he rolled a right-footed shot wide of the far post.

It was his last meaningful action as Divock Origi replaced him just after the hour but, with Augsburg sensing their chance, Mignolet had one dash to the edge of his area to beat Tobias Werner to a dangerous through-ball.

Hitz's superb reactions were tested again when Origi's cross was deflected at him by team-mate Halil Altintop and then Henderson stabbed the ball at him from seven yards.

The final 10 minutes was the most nervy of affairs as, after substitute Jan Moravek volleyed wide, the majority of the hearts inside Anfield skipped a beat as Stafylidis's 89th-minute free-kick dropped just over the crossbar.

Having fallen at this hurdle on their last two attempts, the latest 12 months ago in a penalty shoot-out against Besiktas, progress has at least been made.

Klopp was unfazed by Liverpool's wastefulness in front of goal - and even joked his players were resting their shooting boots for Sunday.

He said on BT Sport Europe: "We keep them for the final, it's good preparation for the final now we know our way to goal!

"I'm not frustrated, football is like this. You have to create chances and we have the quality to score goals, everybody could see this.

"They had brilliant goalkeeping and sometimes the amount of luck you need. We could have done better but that's all. We had six or seven really, really good chances and that's enough.

"In another game, we will score goals for sure."

Klopp took heart from the Reds' display, particularly with his players focusing on the task at hand instead of letting their minds wander to the clash with City.

He added: "Everything is okay. We made the right decisions with the line-up, with the style of play.

"We were really, really lively from the first second on, we showed that we want this game and we were not in mind for the game on Sunday. That was a really good step tonight."

Liverpool captain Henderson also took the positives, but acknowledged their finishing needed to be better.

He said: "Yeah it is frustrating. I think we started the game well, created a lot of chances and should be scoring two or three and killing the game off early doors.

"If you don't do that then you give that a tough battle in the second half because you know they go through.

"Still a lot of positives to come out because we won the game and we look forward to Sunday now."

Belfast Telegraph

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