Liverpool start to look in better health as QPR continue to bottom out
QPR 0 Liverpool 3:Harry Redknapp puffed out his cheeks, muttered an expression of disbelief to Joe Jordan at his side, then slumped back against the dug-out with a shake of his head in disgust.
This mismatch was less than half an hour old and Queens Park Rangers were already embarrassed having just conceded a third goal, a thumping header by Daniel Agger. The centre-half was unmarked – Rangers’ attempts at resistance had long since disintegrated. This team is sinking without trace.
The QPR manager offered something approaching bullish optimism afterwards, saying his team can still survive, but recovery from a defensive display this shambolic seems improbable even with January and another potential transfer frenzy only a couple of days away.
Three clubs have survived having been bottom on New Year’s Day in the 20 years of the Premier League but there has to be a spark to instigate a revival and there was simply no real sign of progress to be seen here.
The prerequisite for a struggling side, principally tightening up at the back, had been abandoned here amid the desperation to register a victory.
Wheel and deal
Even when trying to be upbeat, Redknapp could only describe this as “a doing”, the first time his side have been truly overrun and outclassed over his six weeks in charge. Redknapp has not had a chance to wheel and deal as yet but he will be the third successive QPR manager to survey a transfer window with a sense of desperation, players stacking up at the training ground, though the reality is reinforcements are required.
Clint Hill and Ryan Nelsen are seasoned professionals and utterly committed but, at 35, forwards such as Luis Suarez can and will humiliate them. Both full-backs selected here, Armand Traore and Nedum Onuoha, looked like broken men defensively. Fabio da Silva, on loan from Manchester United, was cast on late but is unfamiliar with relegation scraps.
As, indeed, are a number of a party recruited from the likes of Real Madrid and Internazionale. One of those, Julio Cesar, cannot perform heroics alone. There is imbalance all around.
Liverpool had arrived mid-table and with the norovirus apparently festering in their midst; the manager, Brendan Rodgers, was quarantined and sent back to Merseyside earlier in the day. The assistant, Colin Pascoe, also under the weather, was not allowed into the changing room either pre-match or at half-time by the club’s medical staff and yet they still ran riot.
Suarez rejoiced in the freedom of Loftus Road. His clever drift away from Hill 10 minutes in to collect Stewart Downing’s pass, before tearing at and beyond the back-pedalling centre-half, set the tone. The finish was precise and the hosts already looked in pieces. Within six minutes he had wriggled to the by-line, cutting back towards Raheem Sterling in the centre. Onuoha’s lunge denied the former QPR youngster but merely set up Suarez to thrash in a second.
Agger’s header as QPR dawdled at another short-corner routine completed the scoring, though Nelsen twice cleared attempts from his goal-line, with the visitors content in their superiority. They will unveil Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea, and most likely Blackpool’s Thomas Ince once the window opens this week. Rangers will not have the same leeway in the market.