Oldham completed a memorable FA Cup weekend as they dumped Liverpool out in the fourth round at Boundary Park on Sunday.
Matt Smith had given the League One side an unexpected lead after two minutes only for Liverpool’s captain for the day Luis Suarez to equalise 15 minutes later.
But Smith scored again on the stroke of half-time, before Reece Wabara extended his side’s lead two minutes after the break.
Joe Allen pulled a goal back for the Reds on 80 minutes, but the Premier League side were ultimately powerless to stop Oldham from progressing to the fifth round for the first time in 19 years.
Paul Dickov made two changes from the Latics’ defeat at Notts County five days ago, replacing Chris Taylor with Robbie Simpson and Chris Sutherland with Lee Croft. Oldham were also missing midfielder Dean Furman through Africa Cup of Nations duty, with lifelong Liverpool supporter James Wesolowski replacing him as captain.
Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers named an attacking 4-2-4 line up with Suarez standing in for Steven Gerrard as skipper, while Fabio Borini made his first start since fracturing his foot and Brad Jones replaced the injured Pepe Reina.
Prior to Sunday’s game, Oldham had played Liverpool four times in the FA Cup and lost on each occasion, but an apparent gulf in class didn’t show as Smith gave the hosts a shock lead in only the second minute, meeting Youssuf M’Changama’s cross to unleash a fine header.
But Liverpool hit back on 17 minutes with their first chance of the game as Suarez eased his way into the Oldham penalty area and slotted the ball comfortably past Dean Bouzanis.
The simplicity with which the visitors scored didn’t bode well for the hosts and Suarez seemed to have grabbed a second after 23 minutes but his header was ruled offside.
Sterling was then denied by Bouzanis from inside the box, but there seemed to be a distinct lack of urgency about the Reds – and they duly paid the price before half-time.
Simpson had been a constant thorn in the visitors’ side but it was goalscorer Smith who once again made the difference. First, the forward had another header denied by a fingertip save from Jones before he doubled his tally on the stroke of half time, pouncing on a loose ball after Jones went from hero to villain by spilling a straightforward cross.
Liverpool got things underway after the break and crafted an opportunity straight away, but Borini sent his shot high over the bar.
And Oldham wasted no time in capitalising as Wabara met a looping cross from substitute Carl Winchester to grab the game’s fourth goal, sending an unstoppable header into the far corner.
Gerrard and Stewart Downing were introduced by Rodgers on 55 minutes in an attempt to salvage the situation, but the visitors offered little incisiveness as the hosts defended for their lives.
But Liverpool persisted and pulled a goal back through a deflected strike from Allen on 80 minutes.
A frantic finish ensued, with Gerrard hitting the crossbar from long-distance, but the League One minnows held on to secure a famous cup victory and end Liverpool’s hopes of reclaiming the trophy for the first time since 2006.