Iago Aspas scored his first goal for Liverpool, and Raheem Sterling added a second, as the Reds narrowly progressed to the FA Cup fourth round against Oldham at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
Liverpool 2-0 Oldham Athletic
Sunday, 5th January 2013
Brendan Rodgers put out a makeshift starting line-up, giving Luis Alberto, Martin Kelly, Victor Moses and Aly Cissokho starts.
After a poor first half in which Liverpool had good control and build-up play, but lacked creativity in the final third, the deadlock was broken on 54 minutes.
Raheem Sterling delivered a dangerous ball to the back post where Aspas stretched to meet with a drilled shot into the bottom right corner in front of the Kop.
It was the Spaniard’s first goal for the club, since his £7.7 million move from Celta Vigo last summer and his celebration showed both his delight and relief.
Aspas could have added a second just minutes later when Sterling again delivered a great cross to the back post. Aspas met the ball with a header which cannoned off the outside of the post.
Having made a double substitution at half time, bringing on Philippe Coutinho and Lucas for Victor Moses and Alberto, Rodgers brought on Luis Suarez for Steven Gerrard for the final 14 minutes of the game.
With ten minutes to go, Agger went down with a knee injury and was forced to leave the pitch. Having made all three substitutions, Liverpool finished the game with ten men.
But on 82 minutes, Sterling unleashed a shot from the edge of the box, taking a massive deflection and put the game beyond the Latics with Liverpool’s second goal of the afternoon.
It wasn’t a pretty victory and there were moments when Oldham could have scored themselves, but Rodgers will be happy to have seen his team move on to the fourth round of the competition.
Liverpool will face the winner of Bournemouth vs Burton in the next round. Those two sides will meet on Tuesday, 14th January, after their fixture yesterday was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions on the South Coast.