Match Preview: Queens Park Rangers vs Liverpool
Venue: Loftus Road
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Kick-off: 21: 30 IST, 16: 00 GMT, 30th December
Bottom feeders Queens Park Rangers come into this match under the relatively new management of Harry Redknapp. Having picked up six points out of a possible eighteen under Redknapp, their recovery has been slow and gradual. Sitting on 10 points now, QPR are still eight points away from safety and have become overwhelming favourites to be the first team to be relegated, despite the expertise of Harry, and lost 2-1 to the season’s surprise package West Brom on Boxing Day. Liverpool, on the other hand, come into the last game of the year licking their wounds, having been beaten 3-1 by Stoke on Boxing Day after a terrible defensive performance. Having experienced a heavily turbulent season, the Reds have often made the going tough for themselves i.e. self-destruction mode. Perched far away from the Top 4 at 1oth spot, the Reds will look to take the most out of a game against QPR.
QPR come into the game having lost their last two games, and are in danger of losing three on the trot for the third time this season. Unfortunate refereeing decisions cost the Rangers against West Brom, and the nature of their performances this season haven’t translated into results as yet. Their performances against the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal deserved more, and they will look to put the Reds to the sword again, after a famous 3-2 victory last season.
Robert Green has been impressive in goal since his return to the starting 11, but the QPR will have to make do without long term absentees Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora. Jose Bosingwa and captain Park Ji-Sung are also doubtful for the game, while Dibjril Cisse will look to make a mark against his former employers. Ryan Nelsen has caught a flu and is expected to miss the tie, as is Nedum Onouha.
Liverpool’s form has been hit-and-miss as of late, coupled with horrible defensive outings against Aston Villa and Stoke. They will be raring to go, and also to extract revenge on the Londoners for the infamous 3-2 defeat last time out. Star striker Luis Suarez has been nursing an ankle injury, but is expected to start the final league game of the calender year. However, fellow striker Fabio Borini is still a long-term casualty, as is young defender Martin Kelly.
Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen are expected to return to the starting line-up, having been rested for the last two games due to fixture congestion. But Stewart Downing’s return to form may see the young Sterling benched again after a gruelling start to the season.
Despite the horror show at the Britannia, Rodgers will keep faith in his back four as they look to put their season back on track for the umpteenth time.
QPR recorded a famous 3-2 victory last time out in March, after going 2-0 down. It was one of the blacker marks of Dalglish’s reign. Liverpool have beaten QPR in three out of their last four league games, and the last of the two victories being in 1996.
EPL – 21/3/12 – QPR 3-2 Liverpool
EPL – 10/12/11 – Liverpool 1-0 QPR
Form guide (EPL games):
QPR 1-2 West Brom
Newcastle 1-0 QPR
QPR 2-1 Fulham
Wigan 2-2 QPR
QPR 1-1 Aston Villa
Stoke City 3-1 Liverpool
Liverpool 4-0 Fulham
Liverpool 1-3 Aston Villa
West Ham United 2-3 Liverpool
Liverpool 1-0 Southampton
- The Reds have picked up 20 points out of 27 against bottom 10 opposition this season
- The Reds have lost a record 17 games this calender year and QPR have lost 22
- Suarez has had 97 shots on goal this season, with 53.6% on target and averages a goal every 8.72 shots
- This game will be Redknapp’s 600th in the Premier League. Only Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have taken charge of more games
Formation and line-up:
QPR (4-2-3-1): Green, Fabio, Ferdinand, Hill, Traore, Mbia, Fraulin, Wright-Phillips, Taraabt, Mackie, Cisse
Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Reina, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Enrique, Allen, Lucas, Gerrard, Shelvey, Downing, Suarez
QPR are actually far better than several sides above them, and will look to give the Reds a run for their money. Both teams have enormous pressure on them to win. Expect a tightly fought affair, with Liverpool dominating possession. In the end, the Merseysiders will have just too much power for Harry’s boys, and his ‘Houdini’ powers will have to wait for another day
QPR 1-2 Liverpool