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Wimbledon 1, Liverpool 2: First Thoughts

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Two Steven Gerrard goals won the game for Liverpool in the FA Cup.

Michael Regan/Getty Images

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AFC Wimbledon 1 Akinfenwa 36'
Liverpool 2 Gerrard 12', 62'

  • Pre-match thoughts: Steven Gerrard replaced Adam Lallana, in a move that allowed Henderson to return to his best position. After the announcement that the captain and legend would be moving on at the end of the season, a new era begins today. Lazar Marković and Rickie Lambert moved up from the bench, while Martin Škrtel returned to the side from suspension.

  • First ten minutes involved Liverpool pressing the home side, but AFC Wimbledon showed a dangerous side with a shot that flashed across the Liverpool goal by Sean Rigg. Steven Gerrard gave the away side an early lead with a committed head from Manquillo's neat cross and reflected the superiority of the Premier League side.

  • The poor state of the pitch made it difficult for Liverpool to gain fluency in their passing, but Brendan Rodgers' side dominated the ball with virtually seventy percent possession in the first 30 minutes. The problem was that while his players knocked the ball around, Neal Ardley's underdogs took a direct approach to creating chances through set-pieces and second balls. 

  • Simon Mignolet was forced into a superb save by Sean Rigg, who got his shot on target this time. Matt Tubbs hooked the ball across goal after a flick-on. The League Two outfit were causing Liverpool problems, and the home crowd responded with fierce support. When the equaliser arrived, it was deserved as the hulking Adebayo Akinfenwa punished a side that continues to defend corners unconvincingly.

  • Half-time thoughts: Liverpool controlled the game for the first twenty minutes or so, took the lead within that time, ceded control in a manner that has become worryingly familiar, conceded from a set-piece, and faced the prospect of a physical lower league side confident in feeding off the home support against a shaky Liverpool side.

  • Early second half pressure from Wimbledon's direct balls in open play and set pieces troubled Liverpool. Rickie Lambert, Emre Can, Javi Manquillo, and Simon Mignolet continued to struggle in the second half. After an hour, Wimbledon weren't intimidated or overawed by a Liverpool finding a little more confidence in attack. Steven Gerrard's free-kick was perfectly placed to give Liverpool the lead, but Wimbledon nearly equalised immediately after in what's becoming a worrying trend.

  • Tiredness affected the League Two side as Liverpool regained control of the game. Liverpool failed to capitalise on a number of chances as gaps appeared on the counter attack and attacks were met with less resistance in defence.

  • A couple of late set-pieces and second ball chances for Wimbledon came to nothing as Liverpool went through to Round Four in an competitive cup tie. Bolton Wanderers up next at Anfield in the next round, and Liverpool can thank Steven Gerrard once again for his decisive contributions.

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We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.