How Steven Gerrard helped Liverpool edge Wimbledon in FA Cup tie

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Steven Gerrard marked his first game since confirming he will leave Anfield this summer with both goals in Liverpool's 2-1 victory at AFC Wimbledon.

KINGSTON-UPON-THAMES, ENGLAND - Monday, January 5, 2015: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard scores the second goal against  AFC Wimbledon during the FA Cup 3rd Round match at the Kingsmeadow Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Here, we examine the Liverpool captain's pivotal role in the Merseyside club's third-round FA Cup win.

Leadership

KINGSTON-UPON-THAMES, ENGLAND - Monday, January 5, 2015: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard in action against AFC Wimbledon during the FA Cup 3rd Round match at the Kingsmeadow Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The 34-year-old captain finished what he started by heading the first goal, then dispatching the free-kick that secured Liverpool's safe passage to the fourth round.

As so often in times past, when Liverpool craved a decisive hand, it was Gerrard who delivered.

Gerrard seized control of the tie by heading the visitors into the lead, later popping up to defuse tension built up by Wimbledon with the peerless winning set-piece strike.

The midfielder also cleared Adam Barrett's header off the line with the scores locked at 1-1 as Wimbledon started the second half in the ascendancy.

Creativity

Gerrard assumed the most attacking role in Liverpool's midfield as boss Brendan Rodgers lent on his skipper's experience at Kingsmeadow.

The former England captain handed his side the perfect opening with the game's first goal, but was unable to maintain that stranglehold.

Liverpool and Gerrard were unable to link midfield with front man Rickie Lambert with the striker being isolated for the majority of the clash.

Gerrard conceded possession poorly in his own half to gift Wimbledon a chance late on in the first half, but was able to gain swift reprieve by heading the resulting corner off the line.

Football - FA Cup - 3rd Round - AFC Wimbledon v Liverpool FC

End Product

The perfect delayed run into the box brought the opening goal as Gerrard headed home Javier Manquillo's cross as Liverpool took early control.

While Wimbledon grasped the initiative in the game's middle third, Gerrard then converted his second chance in style.

The Reds skipper stroked home from a 20-yard free-kick to dig Liverpool out of a potentially sticky situation.

Liverpool wasted several late opportunities to end the argument, so in the end it was Gerrard's interventions that once again proved pivotal. PA

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