IT was with good reason former manager Joe Royle once dubbed Oldham Athletic’s famously chilly Boundary Park home as Ice Station Zebra.
But, as his side prepare for a trip to the League One strugglers tomorrow afternoon, Brendan Rodgers believes the season is now starting to warm up for Liverpool.
As at Mansfield Town in the previous round, live television cameras will be in attendance in the hope the Anfield outfit succumb to a team at least two division below them for the first time since their infamous defeat at non-league Worcester City in 1959.
Earlier in the season, Oldham would have fancied their chances. But Rodgers’ men have become a different beast in recent months with a run of eight wins in their last 11 games and a squad bolstered by the £12million arrival of Daniel Sturridge.
The manager will rotate his resources at the start of a significant week for this team, but Liverpool’s improvement of form means he has greater confidence in whatever side he puts out tomorrow.
“It's not a case of gambling,” says Rodgers. “We want to win it. The situation we were in earlier in the season, the cards had been dealt.
“We were in the middle of a Europa League campaign which was tough along with the League Cup, which I used to look at some of our young players.
“I felt we could come through in the Europa League but I knew it was going to be difficult in the League Cup. We played Swansea who had a full-strength team out and we had young Samed Yesil playing up front along with other young kids.
“You’re in the business end in the second part of the season and we want to go as far as we can.
“We're well over halfway in our league games so we can give that a good go, the Europa League is two legs now, so we want to do well in that, likewise in the FA Cup. I feel we've got a real exciting period ahead of us.”
Rodgers, though, admits the Premier League remains the barometer of progress, with Liverpool travelling to Arsenal on Wednesday before going to champions Manchester City four days later.
“Every game is a priority when you are Liverpool,” says the Northern Irishman. “The cups, the league…. every game, because the history of this great club is based on trophies, and we want to win as many as we possibly can.
“But the reality is step by step in the league. It's going to be majorly difficult to achieve fourth place because of the start that we had.
“But we'll certainly be having a go and we may go close but if we just miss out then we're going to be much better prepared to have a real go at that next season.”