Wright steadies Liverpool's ship

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The Independent Online
reports from Copenhagen

Brondby 0 Liverpool 0

Even the appetites and pockets of Liverpool supporters will be stretched folowing last night's tactical triumph against a resourceful Brondby side in the Parken Stadium here. The return leg will be the third big match in six days at Anfield, after visits by Manchester City in League and Cup.

The former England defender, Mark Wright, was in supreme form against a team leaning heavily on the talents of Kim Vilfort, a veteran of all but two of Brondby's 43 European games. One tackle in the first half was brilliant. Vilfort had by-passed John Barnes and Phil Babb and was poised to shoot when Wright tackled him decisively in the danger zone - for strikers and tacklers.

Only an acrobatic stop on the goal-line by the defender Dan Eggen prevented Liverpool leaving the packed stadium a goal to the good. Steve McManaman, lucky to survive an off-the-ball incident in the second half, sent Robbie Fowler through, the goalkeeper, Mogens Krogh, was flat-footed but Eggen scissor-kicked the ball to safety.

David James did not need such acrobatic assistance in the 59th minute when he made a magnificent save, diving to push aside a powerful header by Ebbe Sand.

Ian Rush, three days short of his 34th birthday, partnered Fowler in Rush's 37th European game, with record signing Stan Collymore a spectator on the bench. But the Liverpool strike-force had few chances against a team that matched Liverpool for tactical caution in the early stages.

Brondby have a formidable record and include some notable European scalps. The Danes fell 4-3 to Arsenal in the second round stage of Arsenal's progress to the Cup-Winners' Cup final last season.

Ebbe Skovdahl, the Brondby coach, clearly appreciates the knife-edge of visiting Anfield goalless. "It will be very difficult there for us," he said. "It will be like a hurricane."

Liverpool had one "casualty", Steve Harkness being booked in the first half when both sides were unwilling to throw too many men forward out of respect for the other team.

Brondby (4-4-2): Krogh; Colding, Eggen, P Nielsen, Risager; Daugaard (Bagger, 82), Ravn (Bjur, 70), Vilfort, A Nielsen; Sand, Moller (Thogersen, h-t).

Liverpool (5-3-2): James; R Jones, Scales, Wright, Babb, Harkness; McManaman, Redknapp, Barnes; Rush, Fowler (Thomas, 83).

Referee: J Uilenberg (Netherlands).

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