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I blame Brucie

Liverpool booked their UEFA Cup second round place despite a shock defeat by the Finnish part timers of Kuusysi Lahti.

But manager Graeme Souness returned to England cursing two new injury blows long after he had dismissed the night's defeat, courtesy of a second half goal by Englishman Mike Belfield, from his mind.

Welsh international Dean Saunders was ruled out with thigh and knee injuries and England B defender Dave Burrows limped off after 15 minutes with knee damage.

These latest injuries brought the number of Anfield casualties to 11.

It was just as well Liverpool were not required to extend themselves after their 6-1 first leg win. Their second half possession football was enough to guarantee European passage on a 6-2 aggregate but hardly provided much excitement for viewers watching live television transmission in both countries.

And it could have been worse for Liverpool.

Belfield, left unmarked, lobbed weakly into Bruce Grobbelaar's hands and Petri Jarvinen had a goalbound shot blocked by substitute Barry Jones, a former amateur with Prescott obtained by a 500 pound donation. He was pressed into his debut as a replacement for Burrows.

Ian Rush, still looking far from his sharpest, missed with a couple of close range chances before Belfield punished a 66th minute error by Grobbelaar.

Finnish international Jarvinen crossed from the right and, with Grobbelaar failing to collect after advancing from his line, the former Wimbledon reject rose to score a looping header. It was no more than the gallant Finns deserved.

Manager Graeme Souness laid the blame for Liverpool's defeat firmly at the feet of Grobbelaar. "I was not too unhappy with the way things were going until Bruce decided to get in on the act when it wasn't necessary. We made one bad mistake and it cost us a goal."
Belfield's family were gathered around the television set at their Wimbledon home to see him become a Finnish national hero. He said: "They will have enjoyed that. It was tremendous thrill for me to score a winning goal against a team with such a formidable reputation as Liverpool. Even the fact that we are out of the competition can't spoil that. It is probably the highlight of my football career. We had a lot of young players in Europe for the first time. They might have said to themselves 'we are leading by five goals from the first leg, let's hold onto that.'"

"They will learn from that," added Souness.

Copyright - British Soccer Week

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