Pre-season friendly: Brondby beat Liverpool 2-1 thanks to a stoppage-time winner
By Simon Wilkes, follow me on Twitter @SimonJWilkes. Last Updated: 17/07/14 8:31am
Liverpool defender Daniel Agger suffered defeat as he returned to former club Brondby
Liverpool lost 2-1 to Brondby in a pre-season friendly in Denmark as they started life without Luis Suarez.
Martin Kelly, Dan Agger, Lucas, Suso, Philippe Coutinho and Fabio Borini took their places in an experimental starting XI named by Brendan Rodgers.
But the visitors were stunned on 24 minutes when Brondby took the lead through Christian Norgaard. Young defender Kevin Stewart came on for the injured Tiago Ilori, and his first taste of the action was to scuff a clearance straight to Danish Under-21 international Norgaard, who curled home a superb right-footed strike from 20 yards.
Coutinho was the stand-out player for Liverpool in the first half and went close with a curling 20-yard strike that whistled inches wide of the upright.
Brondby took their lead into the interval, which Rodgers used to make a host of changes, sending on the likes of Joe Allen, Martin Skrtel, Andre Wisdom, Jon Flanagan, Jordon Ibe and Kristoffer Peterson.
The changes made an immediate impact as Liverpool were level on 48 minutes, when Ibe went on a surging down the left flank after a clever dummy before pulling the ball back to Peterson, who tapped in from close range following a parry from the goalkeeper.
Ibe continued to impress throughout the second half and was a constant threat, while Skrtel read the game well at the back and made some decisive clearances.
Brondby twice went close to taking the lead as the half went on, hitting the crossbar through 25-yard free-kicks from Riza Durmisi and Hasani.
But Ferhan Hasani showed great strength to score a stoppage-time winner, outmuscling Ibe and jinking past three Liverpool defenders before smashing a fierce right-footed shot into the roof of the net.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers shrugged off the loss in the team's first game since Suarez's move to Barcelona, preferring to concentrate on the challenges of the new Premier League season which starts on August 16.
"This year, we know it's going to be extremely competitive. Every team will strengthen and we'll be exactly the same. But the beauty for us is that we're a young group and we're bringing in young players that are hungry," said Rodgers.
"We will progress again from last season. It's going to be a really exciting season. I've seen development in the players already in the short period of time that we've been back. This season we have the belief to go along with the quality.
"We want to improve and continually improve. We're working very hard behind the scenes, as we always do, in terms of getting the best quality players into the club."