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If Ya Wanna Win A Cup: The Oldham Preview

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We take on Oldham on Sunday, in the hopes of avoiding the same fate as last year's truly disappointing exit.

Alex Livesey

US: 10AM EST on Fox Soccer Plus

UK: 3PM. Appears not to be televised

The Reds begin their assault on the FA Cup with a 3rd Round tie vs Oldham Athletic, the team that knocked us unceremoniously out of the same competition at the 4th Round stage last season, after we barely squeaked past Mansfield in the 3rd Round of that edition of the oldest club competition in the world, and who, curiously, were beaten by Oldham in a replay to qualify for this stage.

We, by all accounts, look miles better than we did at that stage last year, however, and it also helps that we have the tie at Anfield, which is steadily becoming a fortress once again.

Both sides are probably looking forward to forgetting about their league campaigns for a little while, with Brendan Rodgers' side not having the best of months, despite at one point being at the top of the table. They've come off 2 losses on the bounce with a convincing win over Hull to begin the new year and currently sit in 4th position in the Premier League, a point in front of cross-town rivals Everton.

Oldham, however, are a stark contrast to Liverpool's opening 5 months. The Latics sit in 19th in the League One table, with no wins in their last 6 (3 losses, 3 draws) and are level on points with the 2 teams below them in 20th & 21st, with only goal difference keeping them out of the relegation zone.

One thing that could play into Oldham's hands is our already threadbare squad being even more plagued by injuries. Mamadou Sakho, Glen Johnson and Joe Allen have recently been added to the list of injuries that includes Jose Enrique, Daniel Sturridge, Steven Gerrard, Jon Flanagan and we'd even count Martin Kelly among that bunch, as Brendan doesn't seem to think he's at 100% yet, despite being given various cameos to better adjudge his fitness.

AA's thoughts-

-I think it's time to give Kelly a go at Right Back. We need to rest a few players, and unless we go with 3 at the back, there's really no one to play on the right. You could play Agger & Skrtel in the center and Kolo Toure out on the right, but then we'd have no one to play on the left if we go with 4… (JAceKopite16)

-Unless we go with Agger on the left, as with the Chelsea game, (which he was pretty solid in, having not played in there for so long.) And Kolo & Skrtel in the middle, with Martin on the right. Ah, the wonders of injuries. (JAceKopite16)

-Now, who do we play in midfield? When I found out his return date, I said that Stevie could at least start this game. I've also been harping on about Alberto for the past few weeks. He could actually play a part as well! (JAceKopite)

Lucas, despite probably having his best game of the season last week (He finally didn't give away 3 stupid fouls and get booked!) needs a rest just as much as the rest of them. (JAceKopite)

Do we start Aspas? I vote yes. He wants more playing time, and the only way he'll play in the big games is by proving he can deal with anyone. (JAceKopite)

Alberto and Kelly are must starts in my mind. (loyal2reds)

On the surface a game against Oldham appears to be a pleasant day off from the stressful EPL season, but that could change very quickly. Liverpool will hopefully bury them early and avoid injuries. (loyal2reds)

Considering Liverpool's cup record under BR, I'm actually a bit nervous for this one.  Injuries have the club's depth chart in tatters and we're going to need to rotate the squad (Matt)

Heavily related to this, I cannot freakin' wait for our squad to return to health, particularly Sturridge.  We're in 4th place without Suarez-Coutinho-Sturridge having played at the same time much at all. (Matt)

Going off what the boys said above: Do we start Alberto? If we don't now then we never will.  Do we start Aspas? Sure! And for those looking to get drunk before noon, take a sip of light beer every time he loses possession -- you'll be stumbling and staggering in no time. (Matt)

Call me crazy (won't be the first or the last), but I wouldn't play the Gremlin.  If we can't beat Oldham without him then we should pack it all up and head home.  (Matt)