Milner penalty helps Liverpool edge out Augsburg

Liverpool 1-0 Augsburg (agg: 1-0)
An early penalty from James Milner settled the match and the tie, though the Reds were almost made to pay for missing a number of opportunities.

Highlights: Liverpool 1-0 Augsburg
Highlights: Liverpool 1-0 Augsburg
  • Liverpool advance to the round of 16 by the slimmest of margins
  • James Milner's fifth-minute penalty decides the tie
  • Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet thwarts Tobias Werner late on
  • Apply for tickets for the UEFA Europa League final at Basel's St. Jakob-Park
  • The round of 16 draw takes place on Friday, streamed live from 13.00CET

Liverpool secured their place in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 thanks to a narrow victory over Augsburg.

James Milner's early penalty was enough to earn a 1-0 aggregate win and halt the visitors' first European campaign. Jürgen Klopp's team created plenty of chances but failed to take them, before a late Augsburg rally brought a jittery finish.

The one goal of this round of 32 tie came from the penalty spot after Dominik Kohr jumped for the same ball with team-mate Caiuby and ended up handling under inadvertent pressure from his colleague. Marwin Hitz dived the right way but was beaten by the speed and precision of Milner's kick.

James Milner (centre) raises an arm in celebration
James Milner (centre) raises an arm in celebration©AFP/Getty Images

Unlucky in his own box, Caiuby had no fortune in Liverpool's either. In the first minute he shot over from a promising position and later latched on to Lucas's errant back pass, rounded Simon Mignolet but fired off target.

Liverpool had opportunities to extend their lead. Philippe Coutinho stabbed a low effort at Hitz after a swift combination with Daniel Sturridge. Roberto Firmino then forced an even better save with an improvised flick from Alberto Moreno's low cross.

The second half brought no change to the direction of traffic. Sturridge rolled an attempt wide with only Hitz to beat, before Firmino was foiled by a brilliant block by Christoph Janker.

There was a scare when Mignolet had to rush off his line to thwart Tobias Werner, yet the action soon swung back to the other end. Jordan Henderson should have killed off the tie but found the impressive Hitz in the way once again.

Liverpool's front three
This was just the third time Klopp had been able to start the Sturridge-Firmino-Coutinho trident. In the first game Liverpool hit six at Aston Villa. Then they drew at Augsburg. Here the trio asked no shortage of questions of the visitors' defence, not least Coutinho. The only thing missing was the final touch.

Caiuby comes up short
The angle may have been tight, but Caiuby's failure to even get his shot on target after rounding Mignolet summed up a frustrating night for the man tasked with deputising for Augsburg's six-goal leading scorer in the competition, Raúl Bobadilla. His absence was sorely felt and it was no surprise when coach Markus Weinzierl threw on the half-fit Argentinian as a last resort.

Nearly made to pay
Liverpool's profligacy nearly cost them as Augsburg gave the hosts' back line some hairy moments in the closing stages, culminating in Kostas Stafylidis's free-kick that curled centimetres past the upright in the 89th minute.