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Published: 20:05 | 25/2/16

Milner shoots Liverpool past Augsburg

Early penalty seals 1-0 victory

An early James Milner penalty was enough to secure Liverpool a narrow 1-0 aggregate victory over Augsburg in a tense Europa League round-of-32 second leg clash at Anfield.

Milner gave Jurgen Klopp's side a dream start after just five minutes following Dominik Kohr's handball but, despite dominating for long spells, they were unable to add to their advantage which left the outcome in doubt right up until the final whistle.

Milner's spot kick looked to be the first of many goals for Liverpool on the night, but chance after chance to make the tie safe came and went and they were left to hang on somewhat for victory in the end.

After Milner had notched his sixth goal of the campaign, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge were both narrowly off target with decent chances within a minute of each other as the home side looked to make the game safe.

Augsburg goalkeeper Marwin Hitz then produced a good reaction save to deny Philippe Coutinho after the Brazilian had combined well with Sturridge on the edge of the penalty area.

At the other end, Simon Mignolet parried a raking Kostas Stafylidis effort as Augsburg finally threatened, but Hitz was called into action again to divert Firmino's superb first-time effort away for a corner.

The Bundesliga side were almost gifted a goal themselves when Caiuby latched onto a poor Lucas Leiva backpass but, after rounding Mignolet, the Brazilian was unable to find the net from a tight angle.

Sturridge, who had looked threatening from the first whistle, rattled the upright with a snap shot five minutes before the break after again linking up with Coutinho, but Liverpool had to content themselves with a one-goal advantage at half-time.

Sturridge should have doubled the lead immediately after the restart after seizing on a loose backpass, but his low shot rolled agonisingly the wrong side of the upright with Hitz beaten.

Coutinho also shot narrowly wide on the hour mark as Liverpool continued to dominate proceedings, but they were still unable to find a second goal that would surely have killed off the tie.

They were almost made to pay 20 minutes from time as Augsburg threatened through Tobias Werner, but Mignolet raced off his line to deny the German striker.

Hitz then produced a fine reaction save to keep out Jordan Henderson's close range effort after the visitors' defence had failed to clear their lines.

But the tie was still finely balanced and the concern around Anfield was palpable as substitute Jan Moravek flashed a volley just past the post ten minutes from the end.

Stafylidis was inches wide with a free-kick from just outside the penalty area as the game headed towards five minutes of injury time, but they couldn't find a way through as Liverpool held on to give themselves the perfect tonic ahead of the Capital One Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.

By: Kieran O'Daly

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