Joe Allen watched Antonio Di Natale race onto a return pass yards from goal and shape to pull the trigger with seconds remaining at the Stadio Friuli - and feared the worst.
The Wales international was just seconds away from extending his first season of European football beyond Christmas by helping the Reds clinch a 1-0 win against Udinese.
However, when the predatory Italian Di Natale popped up with a golden opportunity, Allen was sure the frontman was set to make the net bulge and consign Liverpool to a group-stage Europa League exit.
"My heart was in my mouth at that point," he admitted to Liverpoolfc.com afterwards.
"I honestly thought, 'here we go again', but credit to the guys, I think we looked comfortable for the majority of the game. It's always tough away from home when you have a 1-0 lead."
After Di Natale's effort flew into the stands behind Reina's goal and the final whistle was blown, news filtered back to the dressing room that Young Boys had won 3-1 against Anzhi Makhachkala, meaning the Reds would qualify as group winners.
"Topping the group has been an added bonus," said Allen. "We had a tough job to do tonight - we had to come away from home in Europe and get three points, so to get the job done and then to top the group as well is a great feeling.
"It's a great feeling to know we'll be playing European football in the new year. European football is a new experience for me and I want to keep that going - it's as simple as that.
"As a player, you worry that this might be the last game in the competition. So that gave us that added incentive to get through and the added incentive to make sure that our name is in the hat for the draw for the next round."
But for an heroic performance from former Liverpool goalkeeper Daniele Padelli, Brendan Rodgers' side might have put four or five past their Italian counterparts.
The stopper saved brilliantly from Luis Suarez seconds before the interval when the Uruguayan attempted an audacious overhead kick from yards out.
In the second half, Padelli maintained his fine form by denying Suarez once again and then preventing Jordan Henderson from clinching his second.
"You can always look back on games and think we could have done a bit more and killed the game a little bit earlier," said Allen.
"But aside from their chance right at the death, I don't think they caused us too many problems. Yes it could have been more but the main thing is that we got the three points."