MANSFIELD Town have fallen upon hard times in the Blue Square Premier since tumbling out of the Football League in the 2007/08 season, writes Sam Robinson.
Since being relegated, the first time they had been out of the Football League for 77 years, fans of the Stags have seen three successive mid-table finishes and four permanent managers.
Brendan Rodgers' opposite number, Paul Cox, has been the manager at Field Mill for almost two years having been appointed to the role in May 2011 after leaving Eastwood Town, where he won back-to-back promotions, guiding them into the Conference North.
The 40-year-old signed a new two-year contract in May this year after taking the club to a third-placed finish in the Blue Square Premier but were beaten in the play-offs by the eventual winners, York City.
Last season did a lot to renew optimism at Field Mill, with a promotion push anticipated by the Stags fans for this campaign.
Their leading marksmen this season are sure to be hoping to catch the eye of a Football League club after proving their pedigree at Conference level.
Jake Speight and Matt Green look to match their tallies from last season, in which they got half a century between them.
Speight, who is in his second spell at the club, top scored for Conference rivals Wrexham with 21 goals whilst Green found the net 29 times for the Stags. Putting these two together gives the fans reason for optimism in the old mining town.
They currently sit in ninth place in the Blue Square Premier with 35 points, just four points off the play-offs. Their cup exploits, though, mean that they have up to three games in hand over those above them in the table.
Hosting the Reds in the third round tie is the furthest the club has gone in the FA Cup since 2007/08 when they were beaten by Middlesbrough in the fourth round.
The last time Liverpool visited Mansfield was in 1970 for a League Cup second round match. It finished 0-0 with Bill Shankly's side winning the replay 3-2 at Anfield.
Taking this tie to a replay would mean everything to the Stags: a chance for the fans and players to have a trip to Anfield and the extra money which could help to fund a promotion push would be most welcome.