Reds recover to dump out Latics
Skipper Gerrard scores on first start in more than two months
Last Updated: 06/01/12 10:43pm
Liverpool romped to a 5-1 victory after surviving an early scare against Oldham on Friday evening to advance to the fourth round of the FA Cup.
The League One side shocked the hosts in the 28th minute when they took a surprise lead through Robbie Simpson, who netted a superb 30-yard strike.
But the Reds wasted no time in replying, with Craig Bellamy's freak deflected equaliser levelling the scores just two minutes later to mark his third goal in as many games.
Captain Steven Gerrard, making his first start for more than two months, handed Liverpool the lead on the stroke of half-time, converting from the penalty spot after Tom Adeyemi brought down Maxi Rodriguez in the area.
Teenage midfielder Jonjo Shelvey netted after the break before Andy Carroll added to the rout just a minute after coming off the bench late on - the England striker's first goal since October.
Fellow substitute Stewart Downing completed the demolition in stoppage time as Kenny Dalglish's men progressed to the final 32.
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.