Player ratings: Oldham (a)

We take a look at the individual performances in the embarrassing 3-2 defeat to Oldham in the FA Cup fourth round.

Brendan Rodgers
Not a good day for Brendan Rodgers.

Words: 1dragon and Matt

Brad Jones: 5

I know his girlfriend tweeted that he was carrying an injury, but yesterday’s performance was definitely one for him and the club to forget. While his distribution was much better, his errors were aplenty and proved to be costly. Lets hope it is a one-off and he will recover in time for the Arsenal match, assuming Reina isn’t fit.

Andre Wisdom: 6

Nothing much of note in this game. Generally looked okay, although he was beaten a couple of times to allow dangerous crosses into the box.

Martin Skrtel: 4.5

A very poor game from Skrtel again. It is no wonder why Rodgers chose to start with Carragher against Norwich, and looks set to continue with that against Arsenal. Skrtel was the most senior of centre backs on the field and should have marshalled the defence properly. Instead, he was often guilty of allowing players to get by him and this resulted in our defence being very disorganised. Disappointed with him really and maybe, we might have to find an able 3rd choice to properly challenge Skrtel for the second centre back spot.

Sebastian Coates: 4

I have defended Coates in the past but there is nothing I can say in mitigation for him in this game. One word, horrible, sums up his performance. Although Smith is a pretty tough cookie to handle (and a dirty one at that too). there is no reason why Coates cannot match him for strength or aerial superiority. Too easily turned and out-muscled by the opposition. He has to improve drastically to see first team action, if he even remains at the club past this month.

Jack Robinson: 5

Recently he seems to have bulked up and grown a little. However, he seems to have declined in the defensive side of his game. He was like Gibbs/Clichy going forward, but he made Evra-like errors yesterday. His remark towards Suarez after he berated him for choosing to shoot instead of passing the ball may not sit well with some too. Nevertheless, he still has time on his side and should improve.

Joe Allen: 5.5

Closed down the opposition with purpose, but simply not up against the more physical opponents. Allen is also incapable of passing it long and thus, it makes our midfield look very limited when it comes to distribution. Definitely not suited for a midfield 2. A midfield 3 will utilise his strengths much better.

Jordan Henderson: 6.5

The more adventurous and energetic of the two central midfielders, Henderson definitely put in his all in the game. However, there is little he can do when the players around him are under-performing. He did show-case some of his passing range with a few chips into the box and cross-field passes. Offered a good outlet when moved to right back.

Raheem Sterling: 5.5

Raheem Sterling
Sterling – Struggling of late.

Dribbling skills and flair were okay, but his decision making was poor. Each time, he would beat his man but choose the wrong option. Or, he would run into a cul-de-sac and then concede possession. Should have buried the chance when presented one-on-one with Bouzanis. No doubt, the yellow card (unwarranted in my opinion) played a part in his diminished role. Still, inexperience showed in this instance and I am glad we have more options on the bench now. Could have won us a penalty though, but the referee would not give it.

Luis Suarez: 6.5

Had a pretty good first half but strangely disappeared for a period of time in the second. Only re-emerged with purpose after Gerrard was subbed in and from then on, looked like he might be the difference between a win and a loss. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

Daniel Sturridge: 6

A game of ups and downs for him. He did not seem to be playing up top, instead, drifting more towards the channels and taking on the defenders with ease. However, as time passed, he seemed to be more rushed in his decisions and this resulted in some frustrating moments. Nevertheless, I think his partnership with Suarez is promising.

Fabio Borini: 5.5

For all the effort displayed, it was not to be. He could have broken his scoring duck with the chance at the start of the second half. Unfortunately for him, he blazed it over the bar and from then on, it was all hustle with no end product. Subbed off early as he recovers from the long injury lay-off.


Steven Gerrard: 7 (on for Andre Wisdom, 55 min)

Came on and immediately gave the team more impetus and control. His range of passing and composure on the ball also ensured that the Oldham players could not win back possession so readily despite pressing him. Unlucky with a few shots which were bravely blocked, as well as the beautiful shot which came off the cross bar. That moment was perhaps symbolic of our team performance: Okay, but just not enough.

Stewart Downing: 6 (on for Fabio Borini, 55 min)

Came on and provided some directness. Beat his man on occasion but his play is very predictable. Looks certain to start against Arsenal so lets hope he can shut down Gibbs and co.

Jonjo Shelvey: 6 (on for Raheem Sterling, 72 min)

Came on and passed the ball forward with purpose. He was also confident enough to shoot from range, which earned some praise from Rodgers himself. On hindsight, his combativeness could have been useful from the start and perhaps he should have started, adding a third midfielder from the off.

General thoughts on the match/manager:

The manager sent out a strong enough side to win the match. With a fairly vibrant forward line, Liverpool look set to wreak havoc in Oldham’s defence.

But the midfield two of Henderson and Allen looked unlikely to supply the final ball to the four forwards. A cumulation of individual mistakes and inexperience of playing together ultimately proved to be the side’s downfall.

Rodgers cannot be blamed for the former, but perhaps more homework could have been done for defending of set pieces and working out on this new tactical system. He also could have changed things around much sooner when it was clear we were struggling with Oldham’s physical style.

Much has also been discussed about how much our defence has regressed this year, despite using the same set of defenders. This is something our manager has to work on if Liverpool wants to progress further up the table. As it is, this results ranks up with the games against Northampton, Barnsley etc. as one to forget for the manager and players.

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  • Dale Derrivale

    He made the same mistake in setting up the team when we went to Stoke a couple of weeks ago, can anyone tell me what Stoke’s game-plan is? Fact is everyone can, but BR was not prepared for it, that’s near unforgivable. He is becoming to tied to 433. It’s a great way for our team to play in the PL, where you play on lovely lawns week in and week out, but a cold snowy January day in Oldham, the team should have been ready for that and they were not. In my mind, it’s BR’s first significant error, he needs to learn fast and wise up. He’s successfully managed in the Championship so he should be well aware of the tactics he’s going to come up against.

    • Butragenio

      His first significant error? Allen and Borini for 25m! That was his first significant error!!!!

  • Joachim B Nilsen

    Way to high ratings here. We lost against Oldham in a terrible display, you can’t give out 5’s to that defence! Robinson and Wisdom were both horrible, guilty of a goal of two each.

  • John Edwards

    First bad choice by BR was playing Jones who was carrying a strain and reluctant to come for high balls. Gullaci is a big goalkeeper and would have been a better choice. Second mistake was the tactics, was that a 424? we seemed to have only Hendo and Allen in midfield. This led to oldham dominating the center of the pitch and giving them the chance to put our exposed defence under pressure. Poor Jack Robinson gets slated yet he was on his own with nobody getting back from midfield to help him out. We had 4 attacking players Suarez/Sturridge/Borini & Sterling who were no use to us if we cant win the ball in midfield. Definately the most unbalanced side that BR has picked, maybe someone like Roy Evans can be brought into advise him. As BR, Pascoe and Marsh seem to be out of their depth at times.

    • Dale Derrivale

      With Pepe injured there was no alternative.

  • Rederik

    Don,t blame the young players let those in authority take the blame for yesterdays disgrace, how are we ever going to compete without proper investment in quality players, F.S.G may well think they can compete without real investment but as yesterdays result proves we are a mid table at best team and going no were under the present owners.

    • Dale Derrivale

      Not quite sure how you can blame FSG
      for the yesterday? You may have noticed that we are ranked at 9th place in the annual Deloitte rating that details a clubs financial turnover. This is the same as last year and is off the back of increases in commercial revenue, this is despite the fact it’s been the best part of three years without Champions League football, by all accounts it looks like FSG are doing their job pretty well. Or am I missing something?

      • James

        No, Man City climbed a place above us so it isn’t the same as last year.

        Also you do realise that’s on turnover and profit from a large number of things, I wouldn’t blame FSG currently but I have to agree something doesn’t seem right but I can’t really put my finger on it.

      • Rederik

        If three years with out Champions league football is doing a good job then the question must be asked, have the majority of supporters now accepted we are going no were under F.S.G ? and I am sure you also noted I said blame all those in authority B.R can,t just point the finger at the players and try to shift the blame , the fact is he has had long enough now to be able to put out a team that can compete with league one teams let alone the premiership.

  • antonee

    I think the ratings for defender like coates, robinson and wisdom should be below than O, that means negative… very bad performance from them for this game…

  • Butragenio

    I dont agree with some of your ratings:

    Brad Jones should be rated as 4. Terrible mistake on the second + a series or poor clearances which put unneeded pressure on Liverpool. Not Liverpool material!

    Robinson and Coates should be rates as 2. One of the worst performances in a Liverpool shirt in ages. I sincerely think Liverpool may have got a better result if they played with nine men without these two. Total messed it on the first and last. The last was one of the worst goals I have ever seen Liverpool conceding. Coates and Robinson had a whole minute to defend the cross, and yet they were fairly beaten by a young player shipped out on loan by City. These two will never make the grade at Liverpool and should be shipped out immediately. Gave the ball away a couple of times in our own box. Got many passes wrong. One can only begin to conjure the mess Comolli did to Liverpool by paying 7m for Coates!!!!!

    Most important I would rate Brenda “the one season wonder” as 0. Totally threw away the chance of progressing in a prestigious competition out of the window. Results prove he got it seriously wrong. I think even a five year old would have got a better team selection. I would have rested Gerrard and Suarez, but certainly not the whole of my defence!!!! + how longer are we going to have to watch his ridiculous pet Allen in this team!!!!

    • Earl of Dingleberry

      Joe Allen is the Welsh Xavi so behave when you’re talking about him!

  • Darryl W

    As soon as I saw the team I knew we were going to be light in midfield, Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson may as well not have been on the pitch in the first half, this starved the forwards of the ball, our first goal came from Suarez taking the ball from the left wing at the half way line and going all the way and scoring.

    So many players failed to turn up, our average age was 22, we should have gone with Downing instead of Borini, Lucas for Henderson and Carragher for Skrtel, these youngsters need guidance on the pitch and these players would have provided this, we did no have a real captain until Gerrard came on, by which time it was too late.

    We were easily beaten by a team which on paper we should not have had any trouble from at all, but fair play to them, they were up for it, they were hungrier and their whole team worked their socks off.

    A defensive midfielder is a MUST BUY for us right now, aside from Lucas and Gerrard no one else can play there.

  • FritzCanuck

    Bottom line, Skrtel can’t run the defense. With Coates and Robinson at sea for most of the game, the defense was struggling to win possession and couldn’t move the ball. The midfield, such as it was, was too busy getting involved in aid of the back four and couldn’t provide service for the attackers. The whole thing broke down from the back and should have been fixed. The early insertion of Carragher would have stabilized the defense and allowed the rest of the team to go forward.

  • Robertico Henderson

    Oldham’s players cost; 0
    LIverpool’s player cost; 145.5 Million
    something is wrong with this picture.

  • Eye Koki Magiko

    The blame is on the manager. BR fielded a weaker side that he believed was capable of beating Oldham. and why not? in the end every player should contribute. The players were given a task and they failed. they were not ready for this match.
    Suso should be playing more than Sterling.

  • Prince

    This is Oldham we are talking about he gave some players a chance to shine but they just didn’t produce …We have Arsenal on wednesday hope he sticks to whats working and not try to throw Allen where he doesn’t belong

  • Darren J D Murphy

    Obviously down to Brendan Rodgers for picking a weaked side thinking it would be an easy game. Coates & Robinson in back 4. Where were Carragher & Johnson. Why not play Gerrard,Lucas & Downing from the start. Borini, Henderson & Allen spectators most of the game. Look back at previous seasons in the F.A. Cup same thing happend against Barnsley. Weaker team = loss.


    I think FSG need to be reminded of the differences between MLB and Premier League football (or indeed simply football for that matter). In a game where statistics and individual brilliance is key, baseball scouting talents have an easier time finding hidden gems and unearthing them to the main stage. However, in football, a much more team-orientated game, scouts have to bear in mind many other factors when dealing with new players coming in, particularly the idea and prediction of how well players will work in a team. This is why there are so many multi-million pound players in world football, because they are already proven on the main stage and have shown that they can work well as a unit as well as showing flashes of individual brilliance.

    However, I honestly believe that all we need is two 25+ year-old signings. A Santi Cazorla like figure to assist in midfield and act as a replica to Stevie as well as a teacher to the younger players and then a strong iron in defence (a Chiellini-esque figure or an Agger mk.II) to keep Agger and Skrtel fighting over that one other central position.

    But there is no use making these signings as investments, these signings have to be proven players and will ultimately come with hefty price tags unless they come from financially struggling clubs. I’m not going to name two players like people often do on these comments because that is simply useless but I’m sure anyone reading this would be able to think of two players who fit those categories well.

    We all bleed red.