Eggen cracks Liverpool code

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The Independent Online
Football

GUY HODGSON

Liverpool 0 Brondby 1 (Brondby win 1-0 on aggregate)

Liverpool, the thoroughbreds confidently expected to reach the third round of the Uefa Cup, hit a Danish wall of obduracy last night and stumbled. One goal was enough, and to the despair of the red half of Merseyside it went to Brondby.

After drawing 0-0 in Copenhagen, it appeared that Liverpool had done the hard work, but like Manchester United before them this season they found that home was far from sweet. They had the bulk of the possession and the chances, but they counted for nothing when Dan Eggen struck with 12 minutes remaining.

Ole Bjur took a corner on the right and the Danish centre- back had a free header to beat David James from 15 yards. The fact that the Liverpool goalkeeper had conceded the corner by letting Bjur's shot bounce off him merely compounded the frustration.

"We fell asleep," Roy Evans, the Liverpool manager, said. "We knew they were good at set-pieces and they didn't disappoint us. Unfortunately. You have to give Brondby credit, they worked hard and defended well but we had the chances to win it. We have scored a lot of goals of late and you fear the day would come when they would not go in. It arrived tonight."

Evans had warned of over-impetuosity before the match, fearing a Danish breakaway and an early away goal that would have required his side to get two. His players followed the instructions to the point where you felt they were too patient. Up to within 25 yards of the Danish goal Liverpool were masters, but Brondby threw a blanket of players between the home side and their area and although there were plenty of half-chances, none was of the fully- fledged category.

These fell principally to Jamie Redknapp, a threat throughout, who had three shots between the 14th and the 34th minutes that were either just wide or were saved. Steve McManaman also had his moments, but, those two apart, the Liverpool attack largely misfired, with Ian Rush quiet after having a goal disallowed within 70 seconds. Robbie Fowler would have been totally anonymous had he not risked being sent off for pushing Per Neilsen to the ground. He escaped with a yellow card.

The longer the Liverpool breakthrough took to arrive, the Danes gained in confidence, and it would be an exaggeration to say their goal came as a complete surprise. Indeed, it had been heralded six minutes previously, Phil Babb's mistake allowing Kim Daugaard a volley that James did well to save. The keeper then excelled himself by tipping the follow-up over the bar from point-blank range.

After Eggen's goal Liverpool threw everyone forward, and John Barnes had a goalbound header cleared after the Danish keeper had been beaten. But by then it was too late.

Liverpool (5-3-2): James; Jones (Collymore, 79), Scales, Wright, Babb, Harkness (Kennedy, 77); McManaman, Redknapp, Barnes; Rush, Fowler.

Brondby (5-3-2): Krogh; Bjur (Bagger, 90), Colding, Eggen, P Neilsen, Rasager; Vilfort, Ravn, A Neilsen; Sand (Moller, 78), Thorgersen (Daugaard, 68).

Referee: K Ihring (Slovakia).

Results, page 27

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