Liverpool will meet Oldham Athletic for the third successive year in the FA Cup on Sunday, with the Premier League high-flyers looking to avenge last season’s shock defeat in the fourth round. While Liverpool won 5-1 two years ago, Oldham turned the tables with a 3-2 victory at Boundary Park 12 months ago.
Back at Anfield and with Liverpool rejuvenated this season, the League One side face a massive task to repeat their heroics. After back-to-back defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea that saw Brendan Rodgers’s side slip from first to fifth in the Premier League, they responded with a 2-0 win against Hull City that the circumstances led Rodgers to call their “best win of the season.”
Having been knocked out of the League Cup early and with no European action this season, there is every reason for Liverpool to go all out to deliver the first trophy of Rodgers’s reign. Still, after a hectic festive period, there is likely to be some rotation to the side on Sunday.
Luis Suarez may well be rested while midfielder Lucas Leiva may also be deemed in need of a breather. One of those coming into the side could well be Steven Gerrard, who made his return from injury as a substitute against Hull. Indeed, Liverpool’s assistant manager Colin Pascoe has said that the club should soon be getting several players back to fitness.
“You will get injuries at any club, but unfortunately for ourselves, we've had a couple close together,” he explained, according to Liverpool’s official website. “Daniel [Sturridge] has been out, Stevie's been out. But we've played well. It's not a big squad, but sometimes when you get a tight squad together, you work hard.
"That's showing with results and it's great that Stevie has come back now. Daniel will be back soon. Jon Flanagan has been playing so well, it was unfortunate he got injured.
"So it will be three or four players, hopefully, in the next week or 10 days that come back."
Oldham beat Wolves and Mansfield, both in replays, to reach this stage of the competition. However, the league form of Lee Johnson’s side has been less than impressive and a run of six games without a victory leaves them above the relegation zone in England’s third tier on goal difference alone. While an upset is a distant possibility, there is the likelihood of one intriguing storyline, with Oldham’s squad including a certain Anton Rodgers -- the son of Liverpool’s boss.
Where to watch: The FA Cup third round clash will kick off at Anfield at 10 a.m. ET. A live stream, which you view at your own discretion, will be available here.