QPR away 30th Dec 2012 KO 1600 GMT

PREVIEW

After a disappointing defeat to Stoke City on Boxing Day, the Reds travel to Loftus Road to take on bottom placed Queens Park Rangers in our final game of 2012. The Reds will hope to avenge last season’s disappointing defeat at Loftus Road which saw them let a two-goal lead slip as they went down 3-2.

That victory sparked a run of five consecutive home victories for Q.P.R. and in the process secured their Premier League survival by a single point, while Liverpool picked up ten points from the remaining nine league games, ending the campaign in 8th place.

Some solace may be taken from how poor Q.P.R.’s season has been to date with just one league win – 2-1 against Fulham at Loftus Road – picked up so far this campaign. They’ve drawn four and lost four of their nine home games this season and have kept just two clean sheets in their 19 league games (against Chelsea at home and Sunderland away).

Unfortunately for us, Harry Redknapp now manages them. I say unfortunately because of the 19 times we’ve faced a team – West Ham, Portsmouth, Southampton and Tottenham – managed by Redknapp away from home, we’ve won just three times, drawn three and lost the other 13.

TEAM

Liverpool:

Goalkeepers: Reina
Defenders: Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique
Midfielders: Lucas, Gerrard (c), Allen, Downing, Sterling
Strikers: Suarez

It is a possibility that Carra or Wisdom will get a run out, but for some reason BR does not like Coates, and so the back 4 will probably remain the same, despite all the goals we have conceded. Allen might be back from his hip trouble, so could start, either as a double pivot with Lucas, or slightly ahead, working with Gerrard. Shelvey has received so much abuse since the Stoke game, that he has closed his twitter account. BR may feel he needs to protect Shelvey (he is only 20) and let him rest to get his confidence back. Suso has been taken off at half time in his last two starts, and I have said it before, and I am saying it again, I think Suso is still too lightweight for the EPL. He is so skillful, but is anonymous when needed, and that has resulted in his substitutions. He may actually be a better fit for this game, but after wasting his last 2 chances, I think he will start on the bench. Sahin, Assaidi, Cole, and Henderson are not favoured by BR, and although Cole and Henderson may feature, the prospects of Sahin and Assaidi playing are slim.

This could well be the last times we see Cole and Downing play for LFC. I watched the last game with a man who said he grew up with Downing, and he told me to place a bet on Downing going back to Boro in the Jan window. I haven’t but it if I was a betting man, that would seem like a good punt.

STATISTICS

Our 1-3 defeat to Stoke was the tenth occasion we’ve conceded two or more goals in 19 league games this season and our points tally of 25 from 19 games is our joint lowest – on par with Roy Hodgson’s record in 2010/11 – at this stage of a campaign since the Premier League’s formation.

Liverpool’s overall league record against Q.P.R.:

Total – P: 42 W: 29 D: 6 L: 7 F: 71 A: 37 GD: +34

Liverpool’s record against teams managed by Harry Redknapp (all competitions):

Overall – P: 35 W: 12 D: 9 L: 14 F: 43 A: 39

TRIVIA

Ian Rush has made the most appearances (24) and scored the most goals (11) for us in this fixture, although John Barnes with 10 goals in 15 appearances and John Toshack with five goals in six appearances also enjoyed playing against Queens Park Rangers.

Raheem Sterling – signed for an initial £500,000 plus add ons – became only the third player to sign for the Reds from Q.P.R. when he joined the club in February 2010. Six Reds have made the move in the other direction with the most well known being Sammy Lee; sold for £200,000 in 1986 and Nigel Spackman; sold for £500,000 in February 1989.

X FILE

I was at the QPR v LFC game at Loftus Road on the 31st Of October 1994

There was a very odd goal scored at 6.30 mins on the video, and I came away from that game convinced that something fishy was going on with the way the players behaved. (Difficult to see in the video) A few years later, this game was one of those that was cited as being fixed during the big scandal in the late 90’s, with Les Ferdinand’s easy winner coming under extra scrutiny…

ODDS

Home win 25%

Draw 25%

Away win 50%

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