Banana skin averted then

Last updated : 08 January 2014 By Ian Salmon

Liverpool went into their now yearly Oldham FA Cup encounter with the scores tied at one each, us battering them at our place two years ago, they humiliating us at theirs in last season's fourth round.

That night Brendan Rodgers realised that he couldn't put his trust in the club's second string, hastening his choices in summer departures somewhat; that he chose to bring in some fringe players again for this repeat fell into the bracket of 'surprising but necessary with our current squad'.

As ever, the third round of the cup gave some the chance to stake their claims for a first team place. As ever, some grasped their chance and some hastened their own inevitable departure.

In the former group Brad Jones deputised capably in goal with very little to occupy his time but handled what he was presented with confidently, Martin Kelly showed his worth at both right and (when injury dictated the departure of Daniel Agger after all three substitutes had been used) centre back - there has been a suspicion that Rodgers doubts Kelly's mentality post his long injury lay off but the defender has never let us down and in this form he presents a strong and adaptable defensive option.

Iago Aspas scored the opening goal, moved well and had some decent touches but is far too limited in his ability to be a long term answer (despite a fan claiming on Twitter that he will be the next Dennis Bergkamp) while our other summer signing who was yet to have an impact, Luis Alberto, was Liverpool's most creative player in a frustrating first half; the boy has vision and talent, he plays Coutinho-esque through balls and has an eye for goal but is currently a little light and slow for the English game. He was however unfortunate to be substituted at half time.

Unlike Victor Moses. Moses had yet another chance to prove his ability, Moses showed yet again that he has no passion for the shirt that he is (on occasion) wearing. There may well be an innate ability there but there is no application whatsoever, in an ideal world we would terminate his loan deal now. Chelsea are welcome to him and I can find you 40,000 people that would happily drive him to Stamford Bridge this very second.

Aly Cissokho? Unbelievably manages to get worse with every game. Jose Enrique looks more impressive the longer that he's injured.

The game itself was settled in the second half by the introduction of Lucas and Coutinho to add some much needed solidity and creativity to the midfield and allow Raheem Sterling to assert his influence on the tie. Sterling goes from strength to strength at the moment, here he was all speed, trickery and direct threat; it was his work that created Aspas's goal and his speculative shot that presented Liverpool with the winner moments after injury had reduced the team to ten men.

It was a cushion that was necessary as Oldham had responded to conceding the first goal by rallying and threatening. To their massive credit at no point did the visitors resort to direct football, to the long ball, to percentages; they played a brand of football that belied their current league position. I look forward to next January's inevitable rematch.

So a 2-0 win that looks relatively comfortable on paper and into the fourth round to face Bournemouth or Burton, you can't underestimate the importance of that. Ask West Ham or Aston Villa.

Or, quite hilariously, Manchester United.