Oldham 3-2 Liverpool – Inept Performance Leads to Cup Exit

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

By Jonathan Carroll

The finger of blame lays at a few doorsteps on Monday morning as Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers try to put together the post-mortem on Liverpool’s FA Cup campaign for 2013. Indeed Rodgers is not exempt from blame himself, naming Sebastian Coates and Jack Robinson in the back five after hardly racking up first team starts. Inexperienced to say the least.

This approach contrasted to Gerard Houiller’s approach versus Tranmere in 2009 when he opted for a mostly English team with some experience mixed in, in order to deal with the physical lower league team and also because they understood the FA Cup. Coates and Flanagan combined were involved for all of Oldhams goals. Oldhams 6ft 6″ striker Matt Smith bagged a brace. The striker was allowed to having a running start at a cross from the left and the standing Coates was powerless against the big striker.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Luis Suarez answered back after picking up the ball inside his own half, Fabio Borini made an intelligent run into space as Suarez approached the Oldham area. In an attempt to find strike partner Daniel Sturridge the ball found its way back to Suarez before calmly finishing past Dean Bouzanis.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Liverpool continued to be out muscled throughout, with Coastes and Martin Skrtel having a torrid time against Smith.  The Liverpool back four are now seen as a soft touch and who could argue after Sundays performance. Oldham took a 2-1 lead before half time after Brad Jones failed to deal with Reece Wabara’s tame shot and Matt Smith duly tapped home the cross.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Surprisingly Coates wasnt hauled off at half time even with Jamie Carragher on the bench, puzzling to say the least. Things soon went from bad to worse when Wabara looped home a header from Winchester’s deep cross. Robinson failed to really challenge for the ball and Oldham were now in the driving seat.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Enter Steven Gerrard and Stewart Downing. Sadly enough it wasnt until the skipper appeared that Liverpool finally found some bite and determination after being out fought and out muscled for long periods. Joe Allen’s deflected shot made it 3-2 and Gerrard’s 25 yard effort smacked the crossbar as time ticked down.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

A surprising result on the face of the tie but looking at both teams performances only one team deserved to go through. The case is now there for the likes of Coates and Flanagan to go out on loan but then that exposes a lack of depth in the squad. There was also a lack of leadership and experience with the absence of Gerrard, surely an area that needs to be addressed in the transfer marked sooner rather than later.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Rodgers lack of urgency to change things up when Coates was getting destroyed is questionable. Give him a chance to play his way back into the game but even at half time there was a reprieve for the floundering centre half. Liverpool were not under strength but their performance merited nothing more than a cup exit. The Europa League and finishing as high as possible in the league now take centre stage. The unpredictability of this Liverpool squad continues and Rodgers must make the tough decisions sooner in order to change things if necessary. Arsenal and Manchester City beckon next in the league. A positive response to the Oldham defeat in these two games could go a long way to challenging for fourth spot.

Match Statistics

Oldham                                   Liverpool

Possession                          41%                                           59%

Shots                                   13                                               20

Shots on Target                    7                                                11

Corners                                2                                                13

Oldham Athletic

  • 13 Bouzanis – 6
  • 03 Grounds – 6
  • 05 Mvoto – 7
  • 16 Byrne – 7
  • 23 Wabara – 8 (Booked)
  • 04 Wesolowski – 7
  • 07 Croft – 7
  • 22 M’changama (Winchester – 10′ ) – 8
  • 10 Simpson – 7 (Booked) (Taylor – 77′ )
  • 14 Smith Booked (Mellor – 84′ )
  • 20 Baxter

Substitutes

  • 01 Cisak
  • 02 Brown
  • 26 Winchester
  • 06 Tarkowski
  • 28 Sutherland
  • 29 Mellor
  • 19 Taylor

Liverpool

  • 01 Jones – 3
  • 16 Coates – 2
  • 37 Skrtel – 3
  • 47 Wisdom – 4 (Gerrard – 55′ ) – 7
  • 49 Robinson – 2
  • 14 Henderson – 6
  • 24 Allen – 5
  • 31 Sterling – 5 (Booked) (Shelvey – 72′ )
  • 07 Suarez – 6
  • 15 Sturridge – 6
  • 29 Borini – 4 (Downing – 55′ ) – 6

Substitutes

  • 42 Gulacsi
  • 23 Carragher
  • 08 Gerrard
  • 19 Downing
  • 21 Lucas
  • 33 Shelvey
  • 30 Suso
Referee: Lee Probert
Attendance: 10,295
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2 thoughts on “Oldham 3-2 Liverpool – Inept Performance Leads to Cup Exit

  1. Good post, I do like these Red Letter Posts, always well balanced and objective. I agree with Jonathan, and I think Brendan is too quick to blame the “youngsters” when it was he who chose Skrtel and Coates as centre halves a week after dropping Martin for not being a natural organiser or being vocal enough. That being the case why team him up with Seba? If ever there was a game for Jamie, this was it – and why not spare Coates the pain of the second half by bringing Jamie on at half time? Coates clearly does not have the game plan for the physical games, ironic really considering the size of him. Robinson I am less inclined to blame, I think he has a lot of talent, but it wasn’t his best day, but then where were Borini and Sterling who should have been providing cover for the full backs? Both wide men had dreadful games as did Allen – yet again. Allen hasn’t had a good game since Swansea knocked up out of the League Cup. I think Brendan really got this selection wrong. Shouldn’t we always start with our strongest line up and then bring players off if all is going well, instead of throwing them on with half an hour to go? This was a real set back in my view. A good cup run is essential for keeping the whole squad involved; now we really need to play our best 11 in all the league and Europa League games to salvage something this season. One final point….praising the youngsters one week and then slating them in public the next isn’t the answer. Criticism should be kept inside the dressing room. Ah well, at least Suso won’t have to carry the can for this one !

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  2. Have to agree – I am utterly puzzled as to why Coates has been so poor. Certainly the combination of Coates and Skrtel should be able to play against physical opponents. Let’s hope this was just a blip and not the start of a swoon or something similar. On the other hand, the response from the team in the mid week clash against the gunners will reveal a considerable amount regarding the character of the players and the ability of Rodgers to motivate and adapt his tactics to get the best possible result. If LFC is “out muscled” by Arsenal then the team is in desperate straights for certain!

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