Oldham Athletic 3-2 Liverpool
1-0 Smith (3), 1-1 Suarez (17), 2-1Smith (45), 3-1 Wabara (48), 3-2 Allen (80)
Well, what can one say. Congratulations to Oldham but this was a poor result from a Liverpool team that, on any other day, you would have expected to win this tie.
It is the sort of result that, foolishly, one thought we had finally improved enough to avoid. However, after looking reasonably decent since Christmas here we are again feeling the same frustrations and asking the same questions about players and manager. No doubt many, partly through anger and embarrassment, will launch into certain parts of the line up and of course Brendon Rogers. This is understandable enough I guess, Oldham are just off the relegation zone in league one and haven’t won for ages. You can question the commitment of some of the players and you can also question the naivety of Rogers in picking the line up he did however we aren’t the first top flight club to lose in this way and we won’t be the last.
“We lost our concentration and only had spells in the last 35 minutes when we were at the right level. The intensity of our game was nowhere near where it should be at the beginning. We gave the ball away too easily and were not strong enough physically”
The final part of this quote said it all. This was day for pragmatism and not hard nosed adherence to a strict style of play no matter how pleasing on the eye. It was also a day for experience, for players who know about this sort of tie and players in it yet Carragher and Gerrard were left on the bench to watch FA Cup novices such as Coates floundering in the unfamiliarity.
Oldham played it perfectly. They clattered and battered us. pulling us all over the park and don’t mean just via their football. BR should have seen this coming however he simply ploughed the same elaborate high browed furrow he’s been trying to plough all season. Insulting to Oldham? Not at all simply because they won, they got at us physically, they bullied us and we had no answer, no plan B, instead we fairyed around as if we thought this so called superior, prettier method would command rather than earn a win.
I can take this. I can take the fact that we had enough chances to snuff out Oldham’s three goals but didn’t take them. I can take the rank naivety of Rogers and the mistakes he and the players made however, what I will not take is his disgraceful post match comments that attempted to deflect the blame for the defeat onto the younger players in the team.
“I was bitterly disappointed with the young players as they had a chance to compete for a club that has to challenge for trophies.”
BR is all too happy to bask in self reflection when things go right however, it is simply cowardly that when things go wrong to publically poke and pick at weak elements of the team when it is he who is responsible for selecting it. The buck stops with you Brendon when it arrives have the good grace and class to take it please.
Rogers’ line up was bizarre. Selecting three forwards Suarez, Sturridge and Borini seemed a little excessive given the opposition and didn’t bode well for the balance of the team especially given that there was inexperience elsewhere? Oldham went ahead after only two minutes when Smith, climbing all over a shell shocked Coates, headed in M’Changama’s cross. Suarez, after unchallenged run, picked up a return pass from Sterling and prod past Bouzanis in the Oldham goal. Normality restored one assumed, Suarez had one disallowed for offside Sterling went close however, just before half time Croft seized on a poor handling error by Jones to set up Smith who restored Oldham’s advantage with the easiest of tap ins. Half time and a chance to regroup things would be OK? Not so soon after Winchester rifled over a cross and Wabara’s head made it three. Allen gave us some hope with the best goal of the afternoon (a volley from outside the area), Gerrard hit the cross bar but the game was up. Tsk, tsk boys see me after class!
I don’t know if you ever play this game but when the draw was made I ask if we’d have won who would we have played in the next round? I think we would have probably lost that one anyway! Still at least BR can now concentrate on the league what part of league is beyond me and, if yesterday is anything to go by, the manager himself!
Oldham Athletic: Bouzanis, Grounds, Mvoto, Byrne, Wabara Booked, Wesolowski, Croft, M’changama (Winchester – 10′ ), Simpson Booked (Taylor – 77′ ), Smith Booked (Mellor – 84′ ), Baxter Substitutes: Cisak, Brown, Winchester, Tarkowski, Sutherland, Mellor, Taylor
Liverpool: Jones, Coates, Skrtel, Wisdom (Gerrard – 55′ ), Robinson, Henderson, Allen, Sterling Booked (Shelvey – 72′ ), Suarez, Sturridge, Borini (Downing – 55′ ) Substitutes: Gulacsi, Carragher, Gerrard, Downing, Lucas, Shelvey, Suso