Brendan Rodgers let down by fringe players in laboured FA Cup victory
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers loses patience with back-up players Victor Moses and Luis Alberto and is forced to brings on Phillipe Coutinho, Lucas and Luis Suárez
Brendan Rodgers said he had no choice but to summon the cavalry to prevent FA Cup embarrassment as Liverpool laboured to victory over Oldham.
Phillipe Coutinho, Lucas and Luis Suárez were second-half substitutes in the 2-0 victory, with Victor Moses and Luis Alberto taken off after just 45 minutes.
For back-up players who have had limited opportunities it was a sign that patience is wearing thin, Moses especially disappointing.
“I had to do it, We needed more speed and intensity to our game,” said Rodgers.
“You can either wait for it to happen or do something about it because the last thing we wanted was a replay.
“Coutinho and Lucas added intensity and purpose to our game. It was a difficult game and you have to give Oldham a lot of credit for making it that way. We were nowhere near the speed of our game and in the second half we were a lot better.”
Suárez played for the last 13 minutes, Rodgers saying it was essential he had a break.
“You hope to rest some players and give them a recovery period because they’ve had hard games.”
Oldham manager Lee Johnson said the personnel changes were a reflection of how well his side acquitted itself.
“I took it as a compliment, not just when Suárez came on but also when he brought on Lucas and Coutinho,” said Johnson. “He felt he had to bring them on. They average three goals a game at home, so it’s no disgrace for us.
“For a 20-minute period you might not have known which was the Premier League side and I thought we should have had a penalty when Gary Harkins felt a nudge in his back jumping for a header.”
For Rodgers, it was a particularly satisfying afternoon because his son, Anton, made an appearance as an 84th-minute substitute.
“It was a bit surreal to see him out there,” said the Liverpool manager. “We’re very proud of him and it was nice for him to get a round of applause from the Liverpool supporters.