04 January 2014

Liverpool v Oldham 01.05.14

10am ET. I have no idea if it's live anywhere. The website I usually use for schedules says it's on LFCTV Online, but LFCTV's schedule only mentions audio commentary.

If it's on anywhere, there should be streams, but I'm less hopeful than usual. And, of course, I blame Fox Sports because they're the FA Cup rights holder in the USA.

Last four head-to-head:
2-3 Oldham (a; FA Cup) 01.27.13
5-1 Liverpool (h; FA Cup) 01.06.12
3-0 Liverpool (a) 01.15.94
2-1 Liverpool (h) 10.16.93

Last three matches:
Liverpool: 2-0 Hull (h); 1-2 Chelsea (a); 1-2 City (a)
Oldham: 1-2 Shrewsbury (h); 1-1 Coventry (a); 1-1 Sheffield Utd

Goalscorers (all competitions):
Liverpool: Suarez 19; Sturridge 11; Sterling 4; Gerrard 3; Coutinho, Henderson, Skrtel 2; Flanagan, Moses, Sakho 1
Oldham: Philliskirk 10; Rooney 7; Clarke-Harris 6; Mellor 4; Dayton, Tarkowski 3; Baxter, Lanzoni, Montano 2; Grounds, Kusunga, Petrasso, Schmeltz, Smith, Wesolowski, Winchester 1

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Guess at a line-up:
Johnson Toure Agger Cissokho
Gerrard Henderson
Aspas L Alberto Sterling

Your guess is as good as mine.

There will be changes, but Rodgers has a tendency not to heavily rotate in cup ties (last year's Europa League excepted). And last year's loss at Oldham will weigh in the memory.

So let's just go down the list. Mignolet started in both Carling Cup ties; I see no reason why Rodgers would start using Jones now.

If Martin Kelly's still alive, he could and should replace Johnson, but I'm not sure Martin Kelly's still alive. Sakho's injured, Skrtel's played more than any other defenders, Ilori's probably not getting his first start, which should lead to Toure and Agger at center-back. It's either Cissokho or 19-year-old Brad Smith at left-back, which almost certainly means it'll be Cissokho.

After coming on as a sub against Hull, Gerrard's hopefully ready to start, needing the match practice. Henderson's probably fresher than Lucas, needing one of those two to partner the captain in midfield. Liverpool have the most options in the attacking line of three: Aspas, Moses, Sterling, Alberto, and Coutinho are all in contention, although I'd hope the Brazilian will finally get a match off, which he clearly seems to need. Moses, on-loan and yet to impress, is another I'd leave out, but there's an argument for spelling Sterling after he's started the last eight matches, and it's not as if Aspas has impressed anyone in his few appearances either.

At least we know who'll start up front. As long as Suarez has all his appendages (and isn't suspended), he's in the line-up.

Oldham are 19th in League One, only outside the relegation zone on goal difference. Which is the exact same place they sat in the table when these two sides met 12 months ago. This is actually the third consecutive year that Liverpool have met Oldham in the FA Cup. It's a tradition that I could do without.

At least Liverpool's two biggest tormentors from last season's meeting are no longer with the club: former Evertonian Jose Baxter was sold to Sheffield United, burly striker Matt Smith joined Leeds on a free transfer.

I won't embarrass us both by trying to guess Oldham's XI, but will mention the last line-up used, in the 1-2 loss against Shrewsbury on New Year's Day: Oxley; Brown, Kusunga, Tarkowski, Grounds; Dayton, Smith, Mellor, Petrasso; Rooney, Clarke-Harris. That lineup contains just one player who started in last year's FA Cup tie, left-back Jonathan Grounds, formerly of Middlesborough. Australian central midfielder James Wesolowski, who played well in last year's meeting, would also feature if not for a fractured cheekbone suffered in the previous FA Cup round. Oldham's turnover from two years ago to last year to this season highlights just how transitory the lower leagues are.

Brendan Rodgers' son, Anton, plays for the Latics, but has only made seven league appearances this season, five of them off the bench, including in Oldham's last match against Shrewsbury. Oldham have also signed two players since the transfer window opened a few days ago: defender Adam Lockwood and midfielder Gary Harkins.

The FA Cup ranks fairly low on Liverpool's (admittedly short) list of priorities this season. That list is "league finish" followed by a mile or so of blank space before "FA Cup" and "League Cup." However, after the hectic, somewhat horrible last month of festive fixtures, Liverpool need to return to routine, winning form. And, of course, back on their own ground, Liverpool will want vengeance for last season's embarrassment.

Wednesday against Hull was a routine win. No matter the forecasted changes, tomorrow needs to be as well.


Harith said...

I believe Fox is showing it.

Swinefever said...

Always works for me

Anonymous said...

2 nil. On to the next round. Happy to see Aspas score. Own goal never misses.

Somebody whisper to Phil that the EPL conversion rate for shots outside the box is a whopping 2%. Probably lower for "non strikers". Shot over from inside the box too. Practice, practice, practice.