JORDAN HENDERSON'S maiden Europa League goal saw Liverpool FC progress to the last 32 as Group A winners with a 1-0 victory over 10-man Udinese in Italy.
It was only his third strike for the club he joined for £16million in the summer of 2011 - and his first since May 8 - but he would have had another had it not been for a brilliant reaction save from former Liverpool goalkeeper Daniele Padelli.
But with Young Boys beating Anzhi the goal was the difference between the Reds reaching the knockout stages for the ninth time in 11 attempts and crashing out.
In finding the net Henderson joined a small but illustrious club of Michael Owen, Fernando Torres and Phil Neal to score for Liverpool in Italy.
Liverpool’s trouble this season has been a reliance on Luis Suarez, playing his first European away match for the Reds, to provide the goals.
Manager Brendan Rodgers has called for others to contribute and in recent weeks Daniel Agger, Jonjo Shelvey, Jose Enrique and even Joe Cole have chipped in.
By hitting the target in the Stadio Fruili, Henderson became the 15th different player to score this season, three short of the club record.
The 22-year-old had endured a difficult start to his Liverpool career and could have been sold in the summer but he has expressed his desire to fight for a place and a future at Anfield.
To call it a watershed moment for him would be premature but ensuring the club’s participation in Europe in the new year was an important hurdle to get over.
It was not all plain sailing, however, as Liverpool’s game plan had to be altered in just the 12th minute when Nuri Sahin was forced off with a bloody nose after getting caught in the face, meaning an early introduction for the Reds’ leading European scorer this season Shelvey.
The hosts, despite having nothing to play for, created the early chances with Mathias Ranegie heading wide and Roberto Pereyra forcing goalkeeper Jose Reina to tip over his effort.