LIVERPOOL FC will travel to London to face QPR at Loftus Road today and both teams go into this match with very different aspirations, but the same goal of ending the year on a high with a win that could ease pressure off from the coach, team and the players.
QPR is at the bottom of the table and good six points behind Southampton in 17th place. Every point for them at this stage is critical.
For Liverpool, currently on the 10th position, Champions League qualification looks out of the question now, though they are just eight points behind Spurs in fourth. But the club hasn’t been consistent enough to warrant top four speculation; a win against QPR could put Liverpool into eighth.
Though, not the most exciting fixture this weekend, this match still has a lot to offer. Each team is struggling to find consistency and both are in a desperate need of a win. Here is my pick of starting players to get the maximum from the Loftus Road.
Not much to choose from, Pepe Reina should be starting. He hasn’t been through the best of times of late, however he is still the best option Rodgers has at his disposal. Stoke scored 3 past him in the midweek, none of them was his fault though. In all three occasion he was let down by his defenders. Reina, though not at his best, still offers a lot bar a few mistakes here and there.
Liverpool’s last match at the Britannia was a defensive nightmare for everyone. Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger, normally solid gave away easy goals which ultimately cost them the match. Though Rodgers has Sebastian Coates, Andre Wisdom and Jamie Carragher at his disposal, it’ll still be wise of him to stick with Martin Škrtel and Daniel Agger.
They are the best option and they have been consistently bouncing back after a poor game and at QPR they have the chance to do just that.
Glen Johnson is an automatic selection unless injured. After Suarez he has been the best player this season so far. His attacking ability was never a doubt however he was often questioned over his defensive ability. This season though, he has been constantly attacking upfront and tracking back when the defence needed to be sorted.
Jose Enrique has proved equally effective operating on left as a wingback. The Spaniard has had a momentous few days following the birth of his first son. His extra width could prove vital as the Reds look to find a way around the solid home side.
In the last match, just as much the defence looked out of sorts, midfield did not do any better. Stoke bossed over Lucas, Gerrard and Jonjo Shelvey and denied them the control in the centre of the park. Shelvey in particular was very disappointing; he lacked the vision and the creativity. Rodgers will need to alter the midfield and bring either Allen or Sahin to replace him. My choice however would be Nuri Sahin. He can play as a deep lying midfielder, which will allow Gerrard the freedom to go forwards and support Suarez in the attack.
Lucas Leiva is fit and he is another automatic choice as the defensive midfielder and if Liverpool look to dictate the terms in the midfield, majority of the work needs to be done by this man. He has been anchoring the Liverpool midfield, stopping apposition attack and carrying the ball forward. Though Allen hasn’t done all too bad in his absence, he however don’t have the same impact as Lucas.
Steven Gerrard is certain to play a part in the three man midfield and he will need to play as the most advanced of the three. Out of all the midfielders he is the most creative and dangerous while going forward. He will be the best option to support Suarez and unlike the last game, he needs to be given the freedom to operate in more advanced position.
Raheem Sterling was rested in the last match and rightly so, however he should be starting at Loftus Road. He has developed an understanding with Suarez and combined together they can pose serious threats to the QPR defence in the early stages.
Stewart Downing has had few good games in past weeks and it’ll be wise to give him the chance to build on that momentum. Though last week he failed to make any impact, he should still start on the left.
Luis Suarez is fit and will look to add to his tally of 11 league goals this season. After a great game against Stoke, though unlucky not to have scored, the Uruguayan will be back in action. He is the first choice to lead the attacking line with Sterling and Downing.
My Ideal Liverpool XI v QPR:
Johnson- Skrtel- Agger- Enrique
Gerrard- Lucas- Sahin
My Prediction: Liverpool 3-1
Thanks a lot for reading. Comments and suggestions are always welcomed. You can also find me on Twitter @LEONGUI7E