Liverpool capitulated to another disappointing away defeat after a stunning QPR fight back in the final 15 minutes of the game. The 3-2 defeat at Loftus Road for Kenny Dalglish’s side has left them 12 points adrift of the coveted Champions League places with only nine Premier League games remaining. The victory for QPR eased their relegation fears as they jumped out of the bottom three. But with eight of the top eleven still to play in their last nine matches the London club still have a major survival fight on their hands.
Liverpool started the game the better side and dominated the early possession winning 11 corners inside the first 25 minutes and should have been three or four goals ahead by the half time whistle. Instead they went into the break 0-0. QPR had improved towards the end of the first half and looked like they could gain something from a game that prior to kick off they would have looked at as one of their remaining winnable games.
The away team took the lead on the 54th minute thanks to a scintillating scissor kick by Sebastian Coates, a first half substitute for the injured Martin Kelly. The ball ballooned from a goal-line clearance straight to Coates standing on the penalty spot. He launched himself into the air and connected with a rasping volley that left Paddy Kenny with no chance in the QPR goal.
The Anfield club continued to impress with Luis Suarez leading the line and causing a nuisance to the QPR defence. He squirmed through the defence on the 74th minute, twisting and turning before unleashing a powerful shot only to be denied by the woodwork. Stewart Downing, switched to the right flank, met the rebound but his shot was saved well by Kenny as he cut inside. Unfortunately for the QPR stopper the ball fell to Dirk Kuyt two yards out. The Dutchman slid in to extend the advantage to two.
But that advantage didn’t last long. Shaun Derry pulled a goal back for the home team after 77 minutes when he met a corner and powerfully headed past Pepe Reina. The equaliser came with four minutes remaining when January signing Djibril Cisse nodded in a cross from the left wing against his old club. Jamie Mackie completed the comeback in the dying embers of the game when he pounced on a long ball missed by Liverpool’s Jose Enrique to drive the ball through Reina’s legs.
The home side’s performance showed the character they desperately require to stay in the Premier League for a second season. Mackie’s goal was met by a euphoric reaction by both his teams coaching staff and the supporters as Loftus Road erupted.
For Liverpool the result conceivably ends any hopes they had of making it into the top four before the end of the season, and nigh on ends the chances of a top five place. It also encapsulated the problems the team have suffered this season. For too many games the team have dominated possession and had multiple chances to finish a team off but not taken their chances. This has seen them only take 42 points from their 29 games with eight away defeats.