Liverpool win comfortably against Oldham

Liverpool 5 Oldham 1

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard put more than two months of frustration behind him to score on his first start since October as his side beat Oldham 5-1 in the third round of the FA Cup.

After three substitute appearances following recovery from an ankle infection the 31-year-old finally reclaimed his place in the team and expertly dispatched the penalty which put his side into a lead they did not surrender despite a valiant effort from their League One opponents.

Gerrard did the same thing back in October when, on his first start after six months out after a groin operation, he scored against Manchester United.

On that occasion he played only one more match before succumbing to the ankle problem which sidelined him until Boxing Day.

The England international will be hoping recent history does not repeat itself as Liverpool have an important few months ahead of them, starting with a two-legged Carling Cup semi-final against Manchester City next week.

Almost exactly a year ago manager Kenny Dalglish marked the start of his second spell in charge at the club with a third-round exit at Manchester United 24 hours after replacing Roy Hodgson.

There was no recurrence against a side 52 places below them in the league - although for a fleeting moment the visitors threatened a shock with a brilliantly-taken goal from Robbie Simpson which would not have looked out of place had it been scored at Wembley itself.

A week ago the 26-year-old Simpson was not even registered to play for the Latics but he re-signed on loan from Huddersfield less than a week ago and his 30-yard strike will have done no harm in securing him a permanent move.

If the Latics had held on for longer than two minutes they may have stood a chance but a freakish deflected equaliser via Craig Bellamy and Gerrard's penalty put the Reds in control and Jonjo Shelvey's first goal for the club and late efforts from substitutes Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing wrapped things up.

With Gary Ablett's family watching from the stand there was a minute's applause for the former Liverpool defender who died on New Year's Day aged 46 after losing a 16-month battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The Reds may be unbeaten at home this season but they have often struggled at Anfield and they were fortunate not to go behind after just 10 minutes.

Experienced striker Shefki Kuqi outmuscled Sebastian Coates and wrong-footed Jamie Carragher but wastefully shot into the side-netting with only Jose Reina to beat.

Right-back Tom Adeyemi had an equally good chance from Simpson's 14th-minute corner but planted his free header just over while Chris Taylor also fired wide.

Oldham deservedly took the lead in spectacular style in the 28th minute when, after receiving Dean Furman's pass, Simpson took one touch before unleashing a left-footed half-volley which flew past Reina.

The goal had the Oldham contingent in the directors' box - and the 6,132 visiting fans - on their feet but they were soon pegged back by a huge stroke of luck.

Shelvey cut in from the right and speculatively aimed for the far post only for the shot to take a huge deflection off Bellamy's chest and leave Alex Cisak helpless.

Gerrard put his side ahead just before the interval when, after Maxi Rodriguez was pushed by Adeyemi, he expertly converted only the second of six penalties the Reds have been awarded this season.

Bellamy, Dirk Kuyt and Martin Kelly all had chances early in the second half - the latter brilliantly denied by Cisak - before Shelvey smashed home from Bellamy's 68th-minute cross.

Late in the second half Adeyemi appeared to take offence to something shouted from the Kop and despite reassurance from his team-mates, Kuyt and Gerrard, the 20-year-old right-back, on loan from Bradford, seemed visibly upset.

There then appeared to be discussion between the fourth official and a police officer down by the tunnel.

In the 89th minute Carroll smashed in a low shot from outside the area barely two minutes after coming on before Downing, also coming off the bench, wrapped things up even later.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event
filmBut why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride