Premier League Liverpool suffers cup humiliation at minnow Oldham
(CNN) — Liverpool, the 18 time league winner and five-time champion of Europe, was humiliated by third-tier Oldham 3-2 in the FA Cup, the most famous domestic cup competition in world football.
The Premier League club, which is owned by American businessman John Henry, was embarrassed by a team currently struggling towards the bottom of its own division.
On a freezing cold Sunday in the north of England, around 14 kilometers from Manchester, Oldham produced one of the greatest results in its recent history to defeat the seven time FA Cup winners.
Facing the likes of $35 million man Luis Suarez and a whole host of international players, Oldham turned to a man who up until 18 months ago had given up on playing professional football to try his luck at university.
Matt Smith, 23, attended the University of Manchester where he gained a degree in International Management with American Studies while playing part-time amateur football.
But after completing his studies, he rejoined Oldham and etched his name into FA Cup folklore by scoring twice before dislocating his shoulder in an enthralling contest.
Leading 1-0 through Smith's third minute strike, Suarez equalized for Liverpool before Oldham scored two quick goals either side of the break.
First, Smith took advantage of some awful goalkeeping by Brad Jones to fire home his second with Reece Wabara heading Oldham into a 3-1 lead just minutes after the interval.
Joe Allen, a $23.6 million signing, volleyed Liverpool back into the contest courtesy of a huge deflection, but Oldham held out for a famous victory.
It was a return to the glory days for the club, which reached the 1994 FA Cup semifinals where it was eventually beaten by Manchester United in a replay.
It was that year which also saw Oldham relegated from the Premier League -- a division which the club has not been able to return to since.
Oldham, which is managed by former Arsenal and Manchester City striker Paul Dickov, will now face Liverpool's Merseyside rival, Everton.
"I am left speechless by the result. We went out there wanting to battle together," hero Smith told reporters.
"We rallied and thoroughly deserved the win. We proved what we can do today and we will be looking to do the same against Everton."
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, whose side is currently seventh in the Premier League, said he had no excuses following the defeat.
"The FA Cup was a competition we wanted to have a go at and there is no excuse," he told reporters.
"We put out a strong team capable of winning the game, but we didn't."
Oldham's triumph capped a remarkable day of cup action in England where European champion Chelsea was fortunate to escape with a 2-2 draw at third-tier Brentford.
Brentford, which is less than 10 kilometers from its illustrious west London rival, had taken the lead twice, only for Chelsea to snatch an 83rd minute equalizer through $80 million striker Fernando Torres.
It was an impressive showing from minnow Brentford against defending champion Chelsea, which is unbeaten in its past 25 FA Cup matches.
Brentford, which is managed by German Uwe Rosler, will now go to Stamford Bridge for a replay in a game which is estimated to earn it around $1.6 million.
The winner of that fixture will go on to play at Middlesbrough in the fifth round.
There was also drama at Leeds where the first-tier side defeated eight time winners Tottenham Hotspur 2-1.
Leeds, which was relegated from the top-flight in 2004, now faces an away game at Premier League champion Manchester City.
Meanwhile, Luton Town, which became the first non-league side to ever beat a Premier League team following the 1-0 win at Norwich on Saturday, will play first-tier Millwall in the next round.
Manchester United will host Reading, while Arsenal will welcome Blackburn.
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