Liverpool travel to Lofus Road on Saturday looking to put the Raheem Sterling fiasco behind them.
Reports this week suggest Harry Redknapp’s future as QPR manager is far from secure. Redknapp spent most of Friday’s pre-match press conference explaining that he doesn’t feel under pressure, but newspaper reports are hinting at Tony Pulis and Tim Sherwood possibly being sounded out to replace him.
He’d have preferred an easier fixture this weekend than having to welcome last season’s runners up to Loftus Road, although Liverpool haven’t been the slick attacking machine so far this campaign that they were last season. Rangers are again without Joey Barton and Jordan Mutch, both players still not recovered from their respective hamstring injuries.
Adding to their woes is the fact that Niko Kranjcar, one of the few bright spots in their season so far, broke a toe during the week but he may be able to play with a pain killing injection.
A lot has been made of Raheem Sterling declaring that he wan’t in the correct physical condition to start for England over the international break. It’ll be interesting to see if Brendan Rodgers names him in his starting line up – he probably needs to with their current form – or whether he leaves the youngster on the bench to avoid any risk of burnout.
It’s been goals that have been lacking for Liverpool in recent weeks, so the news that Daniel Sturridge has suffered a further setback in training and faces another four weeks out could not have come at a worse time. Mario Balotelli was left out for the last game against WBA, and subsequently left out of the Italian squad, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can force his way into the starting line up ahead of Rickie Lambert.
Emre Can is back to full fitness and they’ll be keen to get him up to full speed as soon as possible to provide an alternative to Steven Gerrard in the defensive midfield role that he has struggled in at times this season.
Rangers have been better at home this season, and indeed beat Liverpool the last time they came to Loftus Road, but it’s hard to see them repeating that this time around. Liverpool have struggled for form, but a hard fought win over WBA may have been a turning point for them.
QPR 1-2 Liverpool