League 1 Oldham Knock Out Lacklustre Reds
|Matt Smith was brilliant for the home side...|
Liverpool fell to an embarrassing defeat at Boundary Park on Sunday evening as Oldham found an early lead via their influential forward Matt Smith. The Reds found an equaliser shortly afterwards but another Smith goal in the first half left Brendan's boys with a lot of work to do. Wabara's goal in the second half rubbed even more salt into the wounds and despite a stunning Joe Allen strike late on, Liverpool just couldn't find the equaliser that would earn them a replay at Anfield.
Rodgers made some changes to the starting line up which was most notably missing the likes of Pepe Reina, Daniel Agger and Steven Gerrard, although the side was slightly weakened an attack consisting of Raheem Sterling, Fabio Borini, Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge meant the Reds were certainly gunning for it.
Paul Dickov set up a strong side to face Liverpool and as mentioned in the preview Wesolowski was made captain in midfield, the boyhood Liverpool fan leading the way in terms of attitude for this important FA Cup Fourth Round tie.
The game couldn't have started much worse for Liverpool who were immediately caught off guard. Matt Smith who was tipped to cause problems by more knowledgeable people than myself was trying his luck on the weakened Liverpool defence. His header fooled the back four and even a late attempt at a clearance from Martin Skrtel couldn't stop Oldham from taking the lead.
It was an unexpected situation for Liverpool to be in but of course, this was the FA Cup, you can almost guarantee that something will go against the grain. The Reds needed to react quickly. Raheem Sterling picked up a booking shortly after the goal for a foul on M'Changama the man who provided the assist for Oldham's goal would eventually leave the field being replaced by Winchester.
Oldham were certainly holding their own in the early stages of the game but when you're up against a player like Luis Suarez it's always sensible to remain alert. The Uruguayan's trickery and confidence allowed him to score low into the right of goal from inside the penalty box to give Liverpool their equaliser.
By now the Reds had steadied themselves a bit, Oldham were still causing problems but all the lads needed to do was make it to half time without conceding again, unfortunately they weren't able to do that.
Matt Smith once again brought the woes for the Reds. Creating havoc for the defence again another goal from inside the box allowed Smith to restore his side's lead just before the half time whistle.
It was frustrating to watch for Reds fans because we knew the defence was not at it's usual strength but even Martin Skrtel who is usually very reliable appeared to be having an off day. What also annoyed me was how quickly the defence became aggravated by Oldham. Dickov had obviously told his side to get stuck in before kick off and so getting on the nerves of the defenders was part of their plan, however I don't appreciate the fact that immediately after we conceded Brad Jones, Skrtel and I think Coates were going mad at an Oldham player for no reason, you could tell the game was already getting to them and Oldham could see that too so they capitalised on this.
The first half for Liverpool was defintely one to forget and it was clear that substitutions would need to be made sooner rather than later if the Reds were going to get anything out of this game. The second half started in exactly the same way as the first though and Liverpool now found themselves adrift.
An assist by Winchester enabled Reece Wabara to send in a lovely header past Brad Jones whilst the Liverpool defence stood agasp. 3-1 down against a League 1 side in the FA cup just wasn't good enough, the only positive for the Reds was that there was still enough time to do something about it.
Just before 55 minutes Brendan Rodgers made the decision to bring on Steven Gerrard and it was perhaps the best move of the game. Gerrard brought with him his famous never say die attitude and immediately there was a spark within the game. Stewart Downing was also brought into play shortly after Gerrard, he replaced Fabio Borini.
It took an improved Liverpool side a further 20 minutes after the introduction of Gerrard to find themselves a second goal. A beautiful strike taken first time from outside the area by Joe Allen flew straight into the right of goal giving Liverpool just a little bit of hope as they searched for an equaliser in the dying minutes.
The best Liverpool could offer was a stinging Steven Gerrard shot that smashed off the cross bar but by the final whistle it was Oldham who were celebrating an historic win over Premier League side Liverpool.
There's no excuses for this result, our poor defence from the onset was the root cause of the problem but the Reds should have never been in a position where they were 3-1 down. Suarez and Sturridge tried their best to get Liverpool back into the game but it just wasn't happening. Congratulations to Oldham who I am now fully backing as they face those bluenoses from over the road!