Kick-off: Saturday 10 December 2011, Anfield
Airtime – 08:25 PM IST, LIVE on Star Sports
Queens Park Rangers visit Anfield this weekend in a decisive encounter for both Neil Warnock’s men and the Reds. The Merseysiders’ 11-game unbeaten streak came to a halt this past Monday at Craven Cottage when Clint Dempsey punished a 10 – man Liverpool with a late goal.
Liverpool’s hopes of stabilising the midfield with Jay Spearing in the absence of the injured Lucas Leiva was dealt an early blow as the native scouser was given his marching orders for a hard tackle on Moussa Dembelé. To top this, Andy Carroll’s continuing poor form in front of goal coupled with Suarez’s latest gesture row has compounded problems for manager Kenny Dalglish.
QPR, meanwhile, have their list of issues after the disappointing draw against West Brom at home last week which ensured that they remained rooted in 12th place. Heidar Helguson, Shaun Wright-Phillips and skipper Joey Barton are performing on a consistent basis for the Rangers. QPR looked like an upbeat team, judging by their display against Manchester City a couple of weeks earlier, but the enthusiasm seems to have worn away.
So, what are the odds? Liverpool will start as favourites but given their recent home results, QPR stand a good chance of stealing a point away from the match, if they manage to stick to their guns like Swansea and Norwich did. Expect Kenny Dalglish to field a 4-1-2-3 formation with Bellamy and Maxi/Downing upfront with Suarez. Jordan Henderson may partner Charlie Adam in the centre of midfield with either Daniel Agger or Jamie Carragher covering up a defence that includes Martin Skrtel and fullbacks José Enrique and Glen Johnson. Don’t be surprised if youngster Conor Coady is called up on to the bench where he will sit along with regulars Maxi Rodriguez (if unpicked) and Andy Carroll!
Neil Warnock will look to stick to his basic 4-4-2 formation but may decide to shuffle around a bit with either Adel Taarabt/Shaun Derry, coming in at the expense of Alejandro Faurli? or Jamie Mackie and making way for Tommy Smith. QPR would like to tighten up their defensive ranks by including Derry but depending on the match progress may introduce Taarabt from the substitute’s ranks. Joey Barton will be expected to play a key part in the build-up play and Wright Phillips’ pace and trickery may come to torment Liverpool fullback Enrique who, at times, has looked out of sorts against pacy wingers.
Well, a cracker of a match is on the cards. Liverpool supporters will be hoping that their side gets over the disappointment at London and comes all guns firing against a promoted team they fully expect to beat. A victory for Liverpool will build up confidence and also set straight their home record for this season. An upset for QPR looks unlikely at the moment with a closely fought/lucky draw their only hope. But hey, who knows? And that’s what makes the game of football so exciting. Keep guessing the odds! Enjoy the game responsibly!
Match Result Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 QPR —-or—- Liverpool 1-1 QPR
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