Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard put more than two months of frustration behind him to score on his first start since October as his side beat Oldham 5-1 in the third round of the FA Cup.

After three substitute appearances following recovery from an ankle infection the 31-year-old finally reclaimed his place in the team and expertly dispatched the penalty which put his side into a lead they did not surrender despite a valiant effort from their League One opponents.

Gerrard did the same thing back in October when, on his first start after six months out after a groin operation, he scored against Manchester United.

On that occasion he played only one more match before succumbing to the ankle problem which sidelined him until Boxing Day.

The England international will be hoping recent history does not repeat itself as Liverpool have an important few months ahead of them, starting with a two-legged Carling Cup semi-final against Manchester City next week.

Almost exactly a year ago manager Kenny Dalglish marked the start of his second spell in charge at the club with a third-round exit at Manchester United 24 hours after replacing Roy Hodgson.

There was no recurrence against a side 52 places below them in the league - although for a fleeting moment the visitors threatened a shock with a brilliantly-taken goal from Robbie Simpson which would not have looked out of place had it been scored at Wembley itself. The former Cambridge striker fired home from 30 yards as an upset looked possible.

But the Reds hit back almost immediately and were level via a freakish deflection off Craig Bellamy from Jonjo Shelvey's speculative delivery.

Gerrard notched from the spot after Maxi Rodriguez was pushed by Tom Adeyemi to hand Kenny Dalglish's side the half-time advantage.

Shelvey got himself off the mark after the break, turning home from Bellamy's cross. Two late goals, one a low shot from Andy Carroll and the other a close-range finish from Stewart Downing, added gloss to the scoreline.