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Football | FA Cup

Oldham Athletic © Reuters Images

Oldham knock out Liverpool



Liverpool became the fifth Premier League team to go out of the FA Cup to lower-league opposition in three days after crashing 3-2 at third-tier Oldham Athletic on Sunday.

Matt Smith scored either side of a Luis Suarez goal to put Oldham 2-1 up at halftime, with Reece Wabara's magnificent header early in the second period securing a famous upset despite a late goal by Joe Allen.

Defeat at a rain-lashed Boundary Park meant that Brendan Rodgers side followed Aston Villa, Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers and Tottenham Hotspur in being ousted from the competition by a team they were expected to beat.

Currently 19th in League One, Oldham are 80 places below Liverpool in the English league pyramid and join Millwall, non-league Luton Town, Milton Keynes Dons and Leeds United as fourth-round giant-killers.

Beaten FA Cup semifinalists in 1994, Oldham made a storming start and took the lead inside three minutes when Smith climbed above his marker to head Youssouf M'Changama's hanging cross past goalkeeper Brad Jones.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers made several changes to his starting line-up but star striker Suarez was included and he claimed an equaliser in the 17th minute.

Wearing the captain's armband, with Steven Gerrard on the bench, Suarez darted towards goal from a deep position and after an attempted pass came back to him, he coolly stroked the ball inside the right-hand post.

The Urugayan thought he had put Liverpool ahead moments later, but as he wheeled away to celebrate after glancing in a Jordan Henderson free-kick, the assistant referee raised his flag for offside.

The two sides exchanged chances but the halftime whistle looked set to arrive with the scores level until a big mistake by Jones gifted Oldham a second goal.

The Australian goalkeeper allowed Wabara's cross to squirm from his grasp and Lee Croft reacted quickly by squaring the ball to Smith, who tapped in his second goal.

Liverpool claimed there had been a foul on Daniel Sturridge in the build-up to the goal and things got even worse for the visitors when Wabara made it 3-1 three minutes into the second half.

Carl Winchester motored past Raheem Sterling on the Oldham left and whipped in a high cross that Wabara met with a towering header that hit the underneath of the crossbar before bouncing over the line.

Rodgers reacted by introducing Gerrard from the bench, and the skipper almost made an impact when he saw successive shots bravely blocked by Cliff Byrne and former Everton youngster Jose Baxter.

Stewart Downing header over the bar and Jonjo Shelvey flashed a shot over, while Robbie Simpson spurned a chance to put the game to bed when he lashed a volley wide at the other end.

It looked set to prove costly when Allen planted a deflected volley in the bottom-right corner in the 79th minute to reduce the arrears and claim his first goal for Liverpool.

Liverpool's efforts to find an equaliser proved in vain, however, with their best effort seeing Gerrard rattle the crossbar from outside the box.

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