Dicks repays an act of faith
Julian Dicks hurtled past two milestones in a 3-0 mugging of an Oldham side that bravely asked the questions before being crushed in the second half by Liverpool's direct answer.
First, the former West Ham defender did what he apparently does regularly in training. He scored a spectacular long-range goal two minutes into the second half.
"Nice one," said Graeme Souness, whose judgement was questioned when he signed Dicks despite his disciplinary record.
The test of temperament for Dicks came shortly after his clattering tackle floored local hero Andy Ritchie and brought the inevitable crowd abuse. Minutes later there were visible signs of the `red mist' following a brush with Chris Fleming and a warning from the referee.
But Dicks stayed calm and watched the enterprising starlets Robbie Fowler and Jamie Redknapp punish Oldham with neat goals from the zone usually patrolled by injury victim Mike Milligan.
"The boss took a lot of stick for signing me because of my record but he showed faith," Dicks said. "Now I have to show faith in him and I know I can do it. I'll get booked now and again and maybe sent-off but I know how to keep the problem down to a minimum now. I haven't been booked with Liverpool yet."
"But I'd like a few more goals like that one. It was my first and it gave me a lot of joy."
The rare deployment of a four-man attack caused problems for Liverpool's defence in a first half Oldham could have edged by about 2-2.
A header by Darren Beckford hit an upright, Bruce Grobbelaar saved superbly from Ritchie and Paul Bernard was only inches off a target often exposed by the guile of Graeme Sharp.
There was a fresh urgency and mobility about Liverpool when Redknapp and Nigel Clough took control of midfield, though Oldham manager Joe Royle was obviously impressed by the role of John Barnes.
"You just can't get the ball off him," Royle said.
Even so, Sharp - who labelled Liverpool as the worst vintage he had seen after a late 2-1 defeat three months ago - was not convinced the corner had been turned.
"They've got a lot of good footballers, but I'm still not totally impressed," Sharp said. "You couldn't gauge them today because we were awful and a bit unlucky."
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