LIVERPOOL 5-1 OLDHAM ATHLETIC MATCH REPORT
Liverpool started their quest for a return to the new Wembley in the FA Cup with a home draw against Oldham Athletic. The fixture was shifted to the Friday night because Everton were also playing at home on the Saturday this weekend. A minute’s applause was held before the match in memory for former Liverpool player Gary Ablett who sadly passed away on New Year’s night after a long illness.
As expected Dalglish made a few changes to the side that lost to Manchester City last Tuesday. The major team news was that Gerrard was making his first start since October. Martin Kelly, Coates, Carragher and Aurelio were the defence in front of Reina, with Gerrard partnering Spearing in the middle of midfield, Maxi, Spearing, Bellamy and Kuyt made up the rest of a strong looking side.
Oldham started the match brightly but it was Liverpool who almost took the lead in the 5th minute when Kuyt headed a Bellamy cross wide. But Oldham reacted to this scare with Shefki Kuqi shooting into the side netting after powering past Coates and Carragher.
With Oldham causing Liverpool a few problems, Adeyemi headed a Simpson corner over as Liverpool struggled to find their rhythm. Then Simpson stabbed an effort wide after a good move. But Oldham deservedly took the lead when Simpson turned and lashed an effort from 25 yards into the top corner of Reina’s net with the Spaniard well beat.
With a shock looking on the cards, Liverpool responded within two minutes when Shelvey’s shot was deflected by Bellamy into the Oldham net making the score level. Liverpool were aroused by their goal and Cisak made a good save from close range from Maxi. But Liverpool took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Maxi was bundled by Adeyemi , resulting in a penalty. Gerrard made no mistake from the spot, giving Liverpool a 2-1 lead at the half.
The second half continued in the same theme with end to end action and chances at both ends. But as the game wore on Liverpool started to dominate more and they got the killer third goal in the 68th minute, when Bellamy’s cross was hooked home from close range by Shelvey. With the game won Dalglish brought on Carroll and Downing for the last few minutes and both players capped a fine night for the home side with Carroll scoring first, before Downing netted his first goal for Liverpool in stoppage time.
A much changed side for Liverpool with many players short of first team action and it showed in the first half with Oldham causing us a few problems. But after we got the quick equaliser we looked a better side although we took a while to end the game as a contest. Great to see Gerrard start and he grew into the game. Great to see us score a few goals at home and see Carroll and Downing score, this will do wonders for their confidence. Overall a great win and now we can look forward to a home draw against Manchester United, bring it on.
Man Of The Match – Bellamy- dangerous all night, caused so many problems with his pace and industry. Superb performance.
written by Jamie McLaughlin website at www.anfieldnews.com