BRENDAN RODGERS had feared fate would determine son Anton could help Oldham knock Liverpool out of the FA Cup again, but instead he was left to savour one of the proudest moments of his life alongside a scrappy win.
Rodgers senior, whose side lost 3-2 at Boundary Park last season to exit this competition at the fourth-round stage, was so concerned that the football gods would write the perfect script that he had told his players in the build-up to the Anfield clash that they needed to be extra wary of "their number 17".
As it turned out, Anton only entered the fray seven minutes from time and with Liverpool leading at that point, after Iago Aspas had opened his Reds account and James Tarkowski had scored an unfortunate own goal, his father was able to savour the sight of his son running on to cheers and applause from the Kop.
"It's brilliant, I've seen Anton's life from when he was a young footballer and to see him run out there was a bit surreal really," Rodgers said after Liverpool's 2-0 win.
"He's a great kid and we're very proud of him as mother and father. He's having a good career and Oldham are a brilliant club for him, they really look after him well. They've got an outstanding young manager (Lee Johnson) who will go on to do really well."
Such admiration may not be have been so forthcoming had the Liverpool boss not turned to his own substitutes at half-time, though.
After an uninspiring first 45 minutes, Lucas Leiva and Philippe Coutinho were both called upon to rally the troops and the Reds soon took control with Aspas hooking home a half volley nine minutes into the second half.
Even then their League One opponents failed to cave in.
Oldham, who thought they should have had a penalty when debutant Gary Harkins was shoved to the turf by Jordan Henderson, went close through Michael Petrasso and it needed the introduction of Luis Suarez and a second goal, which came courtesy of the otherwise-brilliant Tarkowski.
Liverpool forward Aspas admits his maiden goal for the club has helped ease the frustration of his first six months in English football.
"It's wonderful for me to score my first goal here," the Spaniard said. "It's difficult when you don't play all the games, but I'm very happy to have scored."