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Page last updated at 23:18 GMT, Thursday, 24 February 2011

Dalglish pays tribute to Hodgson after Liverpool win

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish
Liverpool legend Dalglish took over from Hodgson in January

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish savoured victory in his first European tie in charge of the club but paid tribute to predecessor Roy Hodgson after the game.

The Reds beat Sparta Prague 1-0 at Anfield to win the last-32 tie after a goalless first leg.

Dalglish did not lead the Reds in Europe in his first spell in charge because of a ban on English clubs.

He said: "I'm only here managing in the Europa League because of the work done before me by the players and Roy."

Former Liverpool boss Hodgson led the club to the top of their group in qualifying for the knockout stages of the Europa League before his failure to improve the Anfield outfit's domestic form resulted in him being replaced by Dalglish in January.

They were superb and the pride they took in themselves and the club was rewarded in the end with a goal

Kenny Dalglish

"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," added the 59-year-old Scot.

The Merseysiders had a hard-fought battle against Sparta Prague and, after wasting some promising chances in the second leg on Thursday, they eventually scored the decisive goal through Dirk Kuyt in the 86th minute.

"I thought they made it really difficult for us tonight," commented Dalglish, whose side face Portuguese side Braga in the last 16 with the first leg on 10 March.

"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."

Sparta coach Jozef Chovanec was left ruing Kuyt's late goal and the chance of taking the match to extra time, especially because Liverpool defenders Martin Kelly and Daniel Agger had been forced off through injury.

"It is very disappointing because I was hoping we would get a chance in extra time," he said.

"We tried to continue with our performance from last week, we tried hard against the favourites for the game.

"Aside from the result we played very well but it is very disappointing to concede a few minutes before the end.

"It was a goal from a corner. I didn't see that as a great goal-scoring opportunity and I think we could have shown more strength in extra time.

"Liverpool had injured players coming off and I am disappointed we didn't take it to extra time."

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see also
Liverpool 1-0 S Prague (agg 1-0)
24 Feb 11 |  Europe
British trio set for testing ties
24 Feb 11 |  Europe
Europa League as it happened
24 Feb 11 |  Football
Thursday's football photos
24 Feb 11 |  Football
Sparta Prague 0-0 Liverpool
17 Feb 11 |  Europe

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