QPR left adrift as Liverpool cheer ailing Rodgers
LONDON (AFP) –
Liverpool ended a difficult year in promising style by winning 3-0 at Queens Park Rangers on Sunday to leave Harry Redknapp’s hapless side eight points adrift at the foot of the Premier League.
Liverpool have never previously lost as many league matches in a calendar year — 17 — but a Luis Suarez brace and a Daniel Agger header in the first half mean they will start 2013 in ninth place in the top flight.
Illness meant that Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was not present to witness the game, but Redknapp may have wished that he, too, had stayed away after his 600th Premier League game ended in chastening defeat.
The QPR manager elected to replace Rob Green with Julio Cesar in goal and the former Brazil goalkeeper quickly found himself udner assault at Loftus Road.
Suarez got his first sight of goal in the third minute after nutmegging Clint Hill, but Julio Cesar was equal to his effort.
It was a different story seven minutes later, however, as Suarez flummoxed Hill with a sharp turn on the cusp of the 18-yard area before coolly rolling the ball into the bottom-left corner.
The Uruguayan made it 2-0 in the 16th minute, following in from close range after his initial cross came back to him via Nedum Onuoha to register his 13th league goal of the campaign.
It was one-way traffic, with Julio Cesar fumbling a Steven Gerrard shot and the recalled Jordan Henderson steaming in to prod the ball wide.
Liverpool’s third goal came in the 28th minute and once again the hosts’ defence was easily exposed, with Gerrard afforded far too much time to deliver a right-wing cross that Agger nodded in.
Desperate blocks from Armand Traore and Ryan Nelsen prevented Gerrard from inflicting further damage prior to half-time, before Adel Taarabt belatedly responded for QPR with a swirling left-foot shot that Pepe Reina fielded.
Julio Cesar denied Suarez a hat-trick early in the second half by pushing a fierce shot from the former Ajax striker onto the crossbar.
QPR showed greater desire to get forward following the change of ends and after Traore drilled a low cross across goal, Stephane Mbia had three attempts at goal from distance, two of which required Reina to save.
Liverpool lost Jose Enrique to an apparent hamstring injury late in the game, but, Rodgers’ absence notwithstanding, it was the only troubling element of a very straightforward victory.