FA Cup Preview: AFC Wimbledon v Liverpool

Steven Gerrard’s departure rocked Liverpool this week and they must now turn their attention to avoiding another shock at AFC Wimbledon.

Long-serving captain Gerrard announced on Friday that he will move to Major League soccer at the end of the season after 26 years at Anfield.

The former England skipper holds legendary status at the Merseyside club and his decision to leave came as a body blow to Liverpool supporters.

All the talk ahead of Monday's FA Cup third round tie has understandably been of Gerrard's exit and manager Brendan Rodgers will be eager to ensure the midfielder's departure has not taken his side's eye off the ball.

League Two outfit Wimbledon's finest hour came when they sensationally won the FA Cup final in 1988 with a 1-0 victory over Liverpool at Wembley.

Lawrie Sanchez's header stunned Kenny Dalglish's Division One champions with one of the biggest upsets in the history of the famous competition.

That uncompromising Wimbledon side, nicknamed 'The Crazy Gang', caused opponents all sorts of problems with their physical approach and the current team have a powerhouse of their own who will make his presence felt.

Adebayo Akinfenwa is a lifelong Liverpool supporter, but the 16-stone burly striker will put any affinity to the Premier League club to one side at Kingsmeadow.

Akinfenwa, nicknamed 'The Beast', has scored nine goals for Neal Ardley's side this season and Liverpool must counter the threat posed by the 32-year-old as they attempt to secure their place in the fourth round.

The former Northampton Town striker is relishing the prospect of coming up against Rodgers' team and is determined to spring a surprise.

He is quoted as saying on getwestlondon.co.uk‎: "It doesn't get any bigger than this. To play against my boyhood team will be the highlight of my career.

"John Barnes was my idol growing up and he’s the reason I’ve supported Liverpool. I play nothing like him though!

"I’ve only been to Anfield once, I couldn't really afford to get up there when I was younger, so on a personal level it would have been nice to have the tie played there. Our best chance to win is to have the game here. We prefer to have it here as a team."

Liverpool have lost just one of their last 11 games in all competitions, but made a disappointing start to the year by drawing 2-2 with struggling Leicester City on New Year's Day after being two goals up at half-time.

Gerrard scored both goals from the penalty spot against Nigel Pearson's side and it remains to be seen if he will feature against Wimbledon or whether Rodgers will rest the 34-year-old.

Wimbledon, who have won their last two games and sit 11th in League Two, are set to welcome back Sammy Moore after he recovered from illness.

Dejan Lovren could be recalled to the Liverpool side, while fellow defender Martin Skrtel is available after serving a suspension and Mario Balotelli will be hoping to play some part after he was not even on the bench against Leicester.