Dalglish: Reds deserved to progress

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Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish felt victory was well deserved as his team finally saw off Sparta Prague to reach the Europa League last 16.

Dirk Kuyt grabbed the only goal of a testing tie when he headed home five minutes from the end of the second leg at Anfield. Both sides squandered numerous chances in an eventful, if scrappy, clash but Dalglish felt the Reds were rewarded for their superior endeavour when Kuyt profited from a late corner.

"I thought they made it really difficult for us," said Dalglish.

"In the first half there were a couple of scares and in the second half they had a header from a free-kick across goal. They were a good strong side and it was a difficult game for us across two legs but I thought we deserved to win.

"I think the boys deserve great credit for the way they went about their work - for their determination and their effort - to get a result. They were superb and the pride they took in themselves and the club was rewarded in the end with a goal.''

Kuyt's goal brought a satisfactory end to Dalglish's first European tie as Liverpool manager.

The Scot, who was appointed Anfield boss for a second time seven weeks ago, did not lead the Reds into continental competition during his first spell due to the ban imposed after Heysel.

The 50-year-old said: "I had never done it before and I quite enjoyed it. It's a fantastic football club and I was lucky enough to be asked to come back.

"But I'm only here managing a football club in the Europa League because of the work that was done before me by the players and Roy.

"It is a great honour for me to be sitting here in charge of this football club but an even bigger honour to be here on a European night and also winning."

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Europa League
Premier League
Kenny Dalglish
Dirk Kuyt

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