Vital Liverpool report on a barnstorming 3-0 victory for the Reds at Loftus Road. Their latest win was largely thanks to a superb first half performance.
Liverpool’s inconsistency this season is encapsulated perfectly by their last four league results: loss, win, loss, win. Their latest setback came after a horrendous performance at the Britannia Stadium, where Liverpool yet again left themselves one bad result away from intolerable pressure for the new managerial regime.
Confirmation of Brendan Rodgers’ illness and consequent absence from the stadium left Reds fans fearing the worst prior to this game. Perhaps it wouldn’t be our day, especially when considering that off-form teams relish the prospect of raising their game against Liverpool.
But the Reds put paid to those concerns with a swashbuckling first half performance, which Steven Gerrard quite rightly described as Liverpool’s finest 45 minutes this season.
Yes, QPR were poor, but the away side didn’t let their hosts settle into the game, relentless passing and hard work – helped by the more dynamic contingent of Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson in the heart of Liverpool’s midfield – overwhelmed Harry Redknapp’s charges.
On 10 minutes, Liverpool took a deserved lead. A quietly impressive Jordan Henderson passed inside to Luis Suarez, who received the ball centrally about 15 yards outside QPR’s box, before effortlessly knocking the ball inside Clint Hill, gliding into the box, and slotting in a tidy side-footed finish.
Six minutes later, the magical Uruguayan doubled Liverpool’s lead. It came as a result of yet another of his jinking runs along the touchline (where his close control is always a joy to watch); his subsequent cut-back was then blocked, but the ball fell straight back to Suarez who instinctively smashed the ball into the roof of the net left-footed.
QPR were still trying to catch breath, and in the 28th minute, Liverpool all but secured victory.
Steven Gerrard received Stewart Downing’s short corner, and under no pressure from QPR’s calamitous defence, he swept in a fine right-footed cross straight onto the head of an unmarked Daniel Agger, who nodded powerfully towards the bottom right-hand corner – Julio Cesar got a hand to it, but the header was too strong to stop completely.
Another goal for the magnificent Daniel Agger, whilst Steven Gerrard’s significant accumulation of vital assists continues.
Incredibly, it should have been 4-0 on 38 minutes. More good work by Suarez – this time on the left-hand touchline – before he pulled it back for Gerrard, but the captain’s side-footed shot was blocked by a combination of two QPR defenders.
For Harry Redknapp, it was a case of damage limitation at half-time when he substituted Djibril Cisse for defensive midfielder Shaun Derry.
Overall, QPR settled into the game second half, whilst Liverpool understandably played a cautious game – being careful to not let QPR back in the contest.
However, Liverpool still had a great chance on 51 minutes, when Luis Suarez’s powerful right-footed strike from the edge of the box was tipped around the post by Julio Cesar.
QPR grew a little further into the game midway through the second half, but their only opportunity of note was Stephane M’bia’s curled shot from the edge of the box on 70 minutes, which flew just wide of Pepe Reina’s post.
Liverpool would go on to stifle any further threat and secure a clean sheet.
After a comprehensive victory then, Liverpool’s infuriating knack of sparking wildly fluctuating emotions continues.
It really is just a simple case of Liverpool playing like they did in the first half – not only across different games, but consistently throughout one game. If they can gain this consistency over the next half-dozen league games, they will almost certainly challenge for fourth.
But, without meaning to spoil the party, this run of results and performances looks very much like a team in transition. Creating a new side that plays with a certain style whilst also winning on a regular basis is not going to come overnight, however, what may come quickly is some glimpses of a potentially very bright future.
That seems to have been the case this season.
If FSG dig deep and support Rodgers in January, then the consistency we all hope for might just come a little earlier than we currently expect it to.
Liverpool’s Star Player
Luis Suarez. Who else? It would be worth re-iterating a couple of points previously made on here. Number one: Suarez could play for any big team in world football. Number two: he will leave the club within the next couple of years if FSG and Rodgers do not surround him with a quality group of players that can contribute to victories as regularly as he does.
Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique (Suso 71′), Allen (Carragher 87′), Henderson (Lucas 64′), Gerrard, Sterling, Suarez, Downing.
Click here to read Colin Pascoe’s comments on the match
Click here to see comprehensive match stats from the game
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