Last time Liverpool met a non-league side it was Havant and Waterlooville in 2008. The Reds went behind twice but eventually won convincingly 5-2. New signing Daniel Sturridge is in line to make his debut as the Merseysiders look to avoid the third round’s biggest cup upset.
Mansfield could well have pulled off all the old tricks in the book. Cold showers in the away dressing room and poor changing facilities. Maybe a flickering light-bulb or a nasty surprise left in the loo. Anything to shake up the big boys and remind them this won’t be an easy game.
5.56pm: Full-time: Mansfield 1-2 Liverpool. There was no cupset at Field Mill as Liverpool go through to round four. Danny Sturridge put the Reds ahead as they dominated the first half but Mansfield came out firing after the break. The winner came from Luis Suarez and the debate will rage about his use of a hand as he scored. Oldham await Brendan Rodgers and co in the next round.
5.55pm: Mansfield are running out of ideas and time at Field Mill.
5.52pm: Green swivels and hits a shot from range that Brad Jones fists away. The set-piece comes to nothing and Liverpool survive. The man between the sticks has had a very good game today. He has bossed his area and done well in place of Pepe Reina.
5.51pm: It comes to nothing but much to the home fans delight there will be four minutes of added time. Brendan Rodgers has the look of a nervous man.
5.50pm: Flannagan dives in and picks up a booking for a tackle on Rhead. Mansfield have a free-kick in a dangerous position here.
5.46pm: Mansfield are getting plenty of joy punting long balls into the box from set pieces. Liverpool need to stay switched on for the last five minutes if they are going to avoid a replay.
5.45pm: A dangerous long throw is flicked just past the post! Is that the closest Mansfield will come to an equaliser?
5.42pm: Rhead looks like a massive striker and he comes on for Clements. Last throw of the dice for Mansfield in the cup.
5.40pm: GOAL! Mansfield pull one back! Is the cupset still on? Matt Green lashes a right-foot shot past Brad Jones after a well worked cut-back. The Mansfield fans are buzzing and there’s still ten minutes to go.
5.36pm: Liverpool look all set to face Oldham in round four with this victory. Apart from the ten minutes straight after half-time it’s been quite straight forward for the Reds.
5.32pm: Robbie Fowler’s completely impartial take on the Suarez incident…
Seriously anyone who thinks it was hand to ball rather than ball to hand needs to sort themselves out #hatersgonnahate
— Robbie Fowler (@Robbie9Fowler) January 6, 2013
5.29pm: Jonjo Shelvey wastes a good opportunity for number three by dragging a shot wide but this should be a routine 20 minutes for Liverpool now. All the headlines in tomorrow’s papers will be about Suarez again, maybe not all for the right reasons.
5.27pm: Fair to say this cup tie is pretty much over. It is 55/1 that Mansfield either win or draw now at Field Mill.
5.24pm: Change for Mansfield as Briscoe makes way for Daniel. I’m going to presume that’s an attacking change but I couldn’t be certain.
5.23pm: Plenty of debate in the office over whether or not it was hand-ball. Opinions are divided. Mainly between Liverpool fans and neutrals.
5.19pm: GOAL! Plenty of controversy though. Suarez has knocked it in but it’s come off his hand. His initial shot was saved by the keeper and as it comes back to the striker it is bundled into the net. Ball to hand or hand-ball? Suarez certainly looked like he moved his arm to the ball and Masfield are outraged.
5.17pm: Sturridge makes way and Luis Suarez is on. Suso also comes off for Jordan Henderson as Brendan Rodgers looks to kill of this tie.
5.15pm: Off the line! Green’s back heel ricochets around and Brad Jones flaps it away. Liverpool are under huge pressure and Brendan Rodgers reacts by telling Luis Suarez to get ready to come on.
5.12pm: More great play from Mansfield and Carragher does well to block Green’s attempt on goal. The club in the fifth tier of English football have had 77 per cent of the ball in this second half.
5.10pm: An awesome start to the second half, four minutes in and Mansfield have had four shots on goal. It’s back to the wall for Liverpool and Anthony Howell looks dangerous for the home side. He’s a whopping 25/1 to get the next goal of the game. Mansfield’s set pieces are very threatening and causing Liverpool all kinds of problems.
5.08pm: Early chance for Mansfield! Brad Jones pulls off a great reflex save to keep the scores level. A few seconds later Sturridge picks up a booking for going in late on a defender.
5.06pm: And the second half is off and under way. Mansfield are attacking the Quarry End which I am reliably told is the Mansfield version of The Kop.
5.04pm: The teams are due out any minute and Brendan Rodgers will be keen on an early goal to end this tie. Could Danny Sturridge get it? He’s 13/5 in-running.
4.56pm: It’s 66/1 for Mansfield to win 2-1. Any takers? Kevin Keegan and Ray Stubbs are saying anything can happen at 1-0. Incredible insight from ESPN.
4.50pm: And there is the half-time whistle. Seven minutes into his debut Danny Sturridge got the goal that separates the two sides and would see Liverpool through in to round four to face Oldham.
4.49pm: Approaching the half-time whistle and Liverpool have been comfortable if not convincing. They are good for their lead but Brendan Rodgers will be keen to kill this game off as early as possible. Daniel Sturridge has looked very sharp for the Reds.
4.44pm: Brad Jones is between the sticks for Liverpool and will be happy with his work so far. Mansfield’s main weapon is ‘Delap-like’ long throws from the monster of a man, Geohaghan. Jones has been equal to them all under pressure though.
4.42pm: And swiftly after Lucas levels up the yellow card count after obstructing someone down the right flank.
4.40pm: Sturridge and Shelvey looking dangerous and linking well. That will please plenty of Liverpool fans. Lee Beevers picks up our first yellow card after flooring Daniel Sturridge.
4.37pm: And just as I type that Mansfield have their first attempt on goal. A swerving shot from outside the area that Jones does well to push away from danger.
4.36pm: Mansfield starting to get a bit more of the ball now although they still don’t look like they’ve settled properly. Set pieces would appear to be their main weapon but Brad Jones has had an easier time than Hugh Heffner so far today.
4.32pm: Shelvey makes a lung-bursting run from his own half and is put through on goal but under pressure from the defender he can’t get any purchase on the shot and it is well held by Marriott.
4.29pm: Another incredible last-ditch tackle for Mansfield this time from Clements as Downing was about to pull the trigger. 20 minutes until half-time and Liverpool would probably like to get another one before the break to give them a bit of breathing room.
4.25pm: Who fancies a comeback? Mansfield are 45/1 with the draw at 10/1. Liverpool are 1/20 to win and 1/4 to score the next goal.
4.23pm: One way traffic at Field Mill and Wisdom is almost in on goal until a cracking tackle denies him a second goal with the top-flight side.
4.18pm: Sturridge is in again but he’s made a hash of it. Mansfield try and play offside and it goes horribly wrong. Sturridge is through on goal but takes an eternity to get his shot away. The striker was far too hesitant and the keeper makes a good save. Liverpool still very much dominating.
4.16pm: Mansfield manage to string a few passes together and now they have a free-kick in a dangerous position. Unfortunately for neutrals who love an underdog story it is straight into the wall.
4.13pm: Anybody else got the feeling that the floodgates are opening…
4.11pm: GOAL! Danny Sturridge opens up his Liverpool account in just 12 minutes. Lovely through ball by Jonjo Shelvey and Sturridge strokes it past the helpless Mansfield keeper. Too easy for Liverpool who have shown their class here early doors.
4.10pm: Liverpool with 90 per cent of the ball so far. This could be a long 90 minutes for Mansfield.
4.07pm: Downing wins a corner but so far so good for Mansfield. They are still definitely in with a chance after holding strong for the opening five minutes.
4.05pm: And finally we’re off. The pitch looks in slightly better condition than a pond.
4.04pm: Still waiting for kick-off, the mind games are certainly being won by the side in the fifth tear of English football.
4.00pm: Fancy Sturridge to get a goal on his debut? He is 7/2 to open the scoring.
3.58pm: They’re here now! Kevin Keegan jokes that Mansfield are delaying this so they can stay in the cup longer. That’s harsh KK.
3.55pm: Liverpool made to wait for Mansfield in the tunnel. They might just be giving Jamie Carragher time to get to the pitch. I’ve seen the Dorset coast erode faster than that man runs.
3.50pm: Time for a score prediction – Liverpool are 2/9 to win with Mansfield the huge outsiders at 11/1. This looks like one-way traffic but Mansfield could have a goal in them. I’m going 4-1 to Liverpool at 13/1.
3.46pm: The Mansfield chief executive Carolyn Radford is pretty bang tidy…
3.42pm: There are 93 places between the two sides and the signing of Daniel Sturridge for Liverpool cost more than the whole of the Mansfield squad and the stadium. Mind. Blown
3.40pm: The winner of this incidentally will face an away trip to Oldham in the next round.
3.38pm: So Daniel Sturridge does indeed make his Liverpool debut as Suarez drops to the bench. There are a number of changers from Brendan Rodgers who gives some of the fringe players a run out. Unfortunately my Blue Square knowledge isn’t vast enough to give you much comment on the Mansfield team apologies.
3.35pm: Here we go…
Marriott, Thompson, Dempster, Beevers, Geohaghan, Howell, Clements, Murray, Meikle, Green, Briscoe
Jones, Coates, Carragher, Wisdom, Robinson, Downing, Lucas, Allen, Shelvey, Sturridge, Suso
3.33pm: Meanwhile as Dave Beasant and David Seaman do the draw for the fourth round, we’ll go and get you some team news.
3.31pm: Is home advantage enough to win this game for Mansfield Town? We’ll find out when the teams kick-off in about half an hour.