Home La Liga Celta Vigo Strike against Oldham will give Iago more confidence

Strike against Oldham will give Iago more confidence


Aspas steered a pin-point Raheem Sterling cross into the corner of Mark Oxley’s net to open the scoring in the FA Cup third-round clash on Sunday evening.

It was his first competitive strike for the Reds, having notched four times for the club in pre-season after arriving from Celta Vigo in the summer.

Rodgers’ side put the game beyond the Latics when James Tarkowski scored an own-goal in the 82nd minute – and will now travel to either AFC Bournemouth or Burton Albion in the fourth round.

The manager told reporters: “The goal was important for Iago’s confidence. It has been difficult for him.

“You’ve got a world-class striker [Luis Suarez] playing week-in, week-out, getting goals, and then you’ve got Daniel Sturridge supporting.

“So he’s been the cover player a lot of this season, apart from the opening period. It was good for him to get his goal in front of the Kop and hopefully that will give him a lot of confidence.

“[The whole squad] has to contribute; you can’t rely on 11 or 12 players. Brad Jones coming in was excellent – he has been a really loyal No.2. He didn’t have much to do today, but in what he did do his hands were clean and his distribution was very good.”

The manager altered his side at the interval, withdrawing Luis Alberto and Victor Moses, who were replaced by Lucas Leiva and Philippe Coutinho.

The Brazilian duo started on the bench, having featured heavily for the Reds over the gruelling festive period – and Rodgers admitted he would have preferred to have given them a rest.

“We needed to be better,” he said. “We needed to have more speed in our game and have a bit more intensity to our game. You don’t want to do it, but the last thing I wanted was the game to go into extra-time.

“You hope in a game like this to rest a number of players and give them that recovery period. Lucas and young Coutinho, and a few others, have played hard games all over the Christmas period. The ideal scenario was to let them recover, but we also wanted to win the game.

“We didn’t want a replay, we wanted to get through into the next round. The second half was better, we were more lively in our game and ended up with a good victory.

“I think you learn as a manger as you get more experience – you can’t wait for it to happen. You’ve got to create it and sometimes you have to change the momentum.

“And with Coutinho and Lucas coming on, we had that bit of intensity and purpose to our game. That allowed us to get better control.”

If the 82nd minute brought relief for Rodgers, with Tarkowski deflecting home the Reds’ second, two minutes later came a moment of immense pride for the Northern Irishman as his son Anton took to the Anfield turf.

The 20-year-old was greeted by applause from all corners of the stadium as he jogged on to replace David Mellor, and afterwards his dad reflected on the moment.

“It was brilliant,” said Rodgers. “I’ve seen Anton’s life from when he was young. To see him run out there was a bit surreal, really. He’s a great kid and we’re very proud of him as his mother and father.

“He’s having a career and Oldham is a brilliant club for him. They really look after him well. They have an outstanding young manager, who will go on and do very well in the game and they have a young team there.

“They’ve got a great spirit. I’ve seen them a number of times and Anton is playing a part in that. It was a great moment for his career and as a father it’s even more special that he gets a nice round of applause from the Liverpool supporters as well.”

Oldham arrived at Anfield having failed to win any of their last six matches in the league; however, Lee Johnson’s side belied their position, five points from bottom of League One, as they matched Liverpool for long periods.

“I thought it would be a difficult game,” said Rodgers. “You have got to give Oldham a lot of credit – they came here and made it very difficult.

“They are a very enthusiastic, young side that have got quality. We were nowhere near the speed of our game in the first half; our tempo was too slow and we didn’t create enough. In the second half we were a little bit better, but it was always in the balance.”

Written by Steve Milne – Have your say below 🙂


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