Reds manager Brendan Rodgers was highly critical of his side after they slipped to a shock FA Cup exit at the hands of Oldham Athletic…
Plucky Oldham Athletic pulled of a memorable giant-killing at a cold and wet Boundary Park yesterday afternoon.
Goals within the opening three minutes of each half, and one right at the end of the first 45 minutes, proved enough for the hosts to record a famous victory.
A sloppy Liverpool side replied through goals from Luis Suarez (17) and Joe Allen (80) but ultimately it was not enough for last season’s runners-up who were out-fought for large periods by their League One opposition.
Following the ungracious exit, Kop boss Brendan Rodgers withheld no punches as he delivered a frank assessment of Liverpool’s display.
“We’re bitterly disappointed. We started the first half really poorly, and we started the second half poorly too and got punished,” analysed the 40-year-old at his post-match press conference.
“The result is very disappointing. We picked a team to come here and win the game – we know we’ve got a big week of games – but our mentality in that opening period was poor and ended up costing us.”
The Liverpool chief made a number of changes for the game and his side had a very youthful look about it with all bar three of the starting lineup aged 23 or under.
“I was disappointed with the young players today,” continued Rodgers.
“We’re trying to give them experience and let them see what it’s like to play for Liverpool. It’s not just about playing for Liverpool, you’ve got to be able to be competitive and be a part of a group that is going to challenge for trophies.
“I thought how we reacted to that and how they performed, knowing that that’s what we’re looking for, was disappointing.
“It’s not enough to play for Liverpool and get up for the Arsenal and Manchester City games. If you’re going to win trophies and go far in competitions, you need to be able to come to places like this and win. We weren’t good enough for that.”
For all their individual errors and collective lack of bottle, Liverpool did go agonisingly close to forcing a replay following an improved showing in the final half-hour.
The introduction of some familiar faces clearly gave the visitors a lift, with captain Steven Gerrard thundering a drive against the crossbar in the closing moments.
Rodgers commented: “Gerrard came on with Stewart Downing and it [became] a different game. For 35 minutes we were terrific, but it was too late then as we were 3-1 down.
“At 3-2 we had some chances, but it wasn’t good enough…
“The Premier League is nice – teams will stroke the ball, pass and give you time to get your shape. This is a different type of football – you’ve got to come and roll your sleeves up, be strong and aggressive. Unfortunately for us, there were too many that weren’t.”
Despite the disappointment, Rodgers reserved some congratulatory words for Oldham, who will now face Everton at Boundary Park in round five.
“I thought they did well. If they fight like that, they shouldn’t be down where they are in the league,” said the one-time Reading and Watford manager.
“Congratulations to Oldham – you cannot take it away from them, as bitterly disappointed as we are. It’s a club that has been going through a tough time and a result like that could give them the lift to push on.”
Next up for Liverpool is a difficult Premier League encounter at Arsenal on Wednesday night which is followed by an even more daunting-looking trip to Manchester City on Sunday.
Defeat in both of those fixtures and serious questions will be asked of Rodgers’ reign in the Anfield hotseat.
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