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Late farce sees QPR restore pride, but add no points, with spirited Liverpool show – report
Tuesday, 21st Oct 2014 11:11 by Clive Whittingham

QPR turned in their best performance of the season so far on Sunday, comprehensively outplaying Liverpool for long periods, only to master their own downfall with two farcical own goals.

A horrible, vile concoction of encouragement, optimism, hope, euphoria, devastation, euphoria again and ultimately crushing disappointment.

After a dire start to the season culminated in an abject display and defeat at West Ham prior to the international break, what a blessed relief it was to see QPR play in such a swashbuckling style, casting aside the shackles of budgets and squad strength to put Liverpool to the sword. How infuriating it is that it’s taken then eight games of the season to do it. How gut wrenching that at the end of it all, no points have been added to a meagre total of four so far this season. For it all, QPR remain dead last.

They came to Loftus Road on Sunday to bury Harry Redknapp. His steady stream of excuses, non-existent touchline presence, wild team selections, dull football and poor results had worn thin, culminating in the pathetic surrender at Upton Park a fortnight ago. Gentlemen of the press filled the role of the priest reading the last rights in the Friday build-up, driving the experienced manager to the point of distraction with questions about the pressure he was under, and whether Tim Sherwood would make a decent replacement for him. Redknapp, almost for the first time since he arrived at QPR, seemed rattled, angry, and interested.

Widespread changes were made to the starting 11. Redknapp’s go-to poster boy Rio Ferdinand was dropped to the bench in a long overdue move. Ferdinand would do well to cancel this week’s book signings and concentrate on the job he’s paid to do. Credit to the manager for having the balls to do it, although a cynic would suggest it only happened because his job was on the line. Nedum Onuoha, selected on the right of a narrow back four, showed why he should never have been dropped in the first place, comprehensively marking Adam Lallana out of the first half, physically dominating the £25m man, rendering him totally ineffective. He was terrific.

As was, on the other side, Yun Suk-Young. A man Redknapp has done everything possible not to pick since he arrived at the club. The South Korean went to the World Cup, and looked decent, but for some unfathomable reason has been unable to make the left back spot his own at QPR ahead of the terminally inconsistent Armand Traore, or ageing centre half Clint Hill. Here, finally given his bow, he was an obvious man of the match for the home team. Immaculate first touch, faultless use of the football when in possession, up and down like a bride’s nightie, positionally sound – excellent all round. Again, you didn’t know whether to be delighted for the lad, or frustrated that it’s taken this long for him to be given a chance.

Those two set the tone for a first half which QPR completely dominated and should have led 3-0 by the time referee Phil Dowd brought it to a close. The Hoops were on it, tackling hard, running strongly, working for each other - they were unrecognisable from the earlier games this season. Play like this for the rest of the season they’ll survive with plenty to spare – but there lies the rub.

Liverpool didn’t like it one bit. Steven Gerrard played in an advanced role in the first half but found his influenced crowded by Sandro and the excellent Karl Henry. With Lallana mauled by Onuoha it was left to Raheem Sterling to try and effect the game on his first return to Loftus Road since leaving the QPR youth set up for Liverpool three years ago. He found Suk-Young in undaunted mood and got little change.

It didn’t help the visitors’ cause that they effectively played with ten-men. Under-fire centre forward Mario Balotelli responding to external and internal criticism in the North West by turning in one of the worst striking performances seen on this ground since Brett Angell and Sammy Koejoe roamed the earth. Rarely has a player looked so disinterested in the game going on around him. Richard Dunne and Steven Caulker, paired together as a two man centre back combination for the first time this season, needn’t have changed out of their club suits, and as the game wore on the exasperation of the other Liverpool players with their £16m Italian grew. Jose Enrique, Jordan Henderson and Lallana all delivered volleys of abuse down the field at the non-plussed striker who responded by dragging long range shots miles wide of the target when there were better options for a pass. The more Dunne dominated him physically, the less interested Balotelli became. The less interested he became, the more encouragement it gave Dunne. Rodgers should have thrown a towel in and sent Rickie Lambert on after half an hour.

All it needed was for QPR to score, and with Liverpool’s defence creaking from the first minute that seemed a matter of when rather than if. The style was unashamedly direct; long towards veteran striker Bobby Zamora making a rare start and pinning the centre backs in position for fun. Charlie Ausin and Leroy Fer worked off him and both should have scored in the first half hour. First Austin bundled his way into clear space in the penalty area, drew a save from goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, and then skewed the rebound into the side netting at full strength.

That built belief, and noise, inside Loftus Road, and a goal seemed certain to follow when Mauricio Isla, turning in by far and away his best performance in Hoops in a wide right midfield role, reached the byline and cut the ball back low, behind a defence that had been sucked into the six yard box, for Fer to stride onto unmarked and inexplicably sky onto the cross bar and over from point-blank range with the goal gaping. Only he will know how he contrived to miss. An absolute sitter.

Liverpool looked wholly uncomfortable with the entire situation. Later Mignolet, who mixed decent shot stopping with remedial decision making all afternoon, came for a routine cross only to allow Fer to get there first and nod towards the open goal. Somehow Liverpool kept the ball out, first via the cross bar, then with Glen Johnson executing a flying, two footed challenge into Sandro’s chest as he tried to convert on the line, and finally when Charlie Austin had his feet taken from underneath him by Mignolet with a sneaky glove. The ball rolled agonisingly along the line and was cleared away. No penalty was awarded.

You couldn’t help but feel the chance had gone. Liverpool couldn’t possibly be as bad again in the second half. Changes would surely follow. Steven Gerrard’s curled finish from ten yards out, round debutant goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, in for the allegedly ill Robert Green, and a fraction wide of the post right on half time felt like a marker for what was to come.


But if anything Liverpool were every bit as bad at the start of the second period. Gerrard played deeper, and tried to dictate play from there, picking the ball up from Mignolet and spraying it this way and that in quarter-back style, but QPR soon wised up to the technique and pushed Sandro and Henry further on to crowd that space. On half a dozen occasions the visitors ended up playing heart-stopping passing moves around their own area with QPR breathing the hefty scent of blood through their nostrils.

But problems started to surface for the home side at half time. Nedum Onuoha seemingly can’t catch a break at the moment, and he had to be withdrawn with a hamstring problem. That meant Isla had to drop back from the wide right role he’d been so effective in, to the right back one where he looks out of his depth in this league. Matt Philips was introduced ahead of him and remains in chronically bad form. Rangers were weakened, fatally as it turned out, down their right flank.

Worse was to follow. Sandro, the least durable Beast ever to carry the nickname, added a groin strain to his catalogue of injuries and also headed for the early bathwater, also to be inadequately replaced. The difference in ability, concentration and value to the team in Suk-Young and Armand Traore was seen almost immediately with the opening goal. Yes, Raheem Sterling dived to win a free kick, falling on the ball and picking it up. Yes, referee Phil Dowd should have strapped on a pair and penalised him for handball. No, Rangers didn’t get a damn thing from the referee all afternoon, a performance that whiffed of big-club bias from the first whistle. But to make any kind of challenge at all when Sterling had his back to goal was foolish of Traore, and to then stand and remonstrate instead of getting back in shape while Liverpool took a quick free kick was criminal. Still, only Richard Dunne will know how he contrived to turn the resulting low cross into his own net under no pressure inside the six yard box.

And it looked like that would be that. Zamora started to tire, as he does, and stopped winning the headers and knock downs. Charlie Austin disappeared from the game as a result – one side-footed shot from 20 yards brought a routine save from Mignolet but little else. Phillips huffed and puffed and did more harm than good down the right. Liverpool sent on Philippe Coutinho and Joe Allen for Emre Can and Lallana and looked 1000% better immediately – a forthcoming Champions League tie with Real Madrid can be the only reason for them being left out in the first place, and Balotelli being left on for the duration. Alex McCarthy deserves credit for a wondrous, sprawling save to deny Coutinho but how Balotelli skied the rebound over the open goal only he and Leroy Fer will be able to explain.

Brave effort, 1-0 defeat, Villa game looming large next Monday.

Not so. Harry Redknapp came out fighting afterwards, telling the press that he’s seen the names being linked with his job and that “nobody could do a better job here than me”, while throwing in some unnecessary abuse of “overweight” and “lazy” Adel Taarabt into the bargain. But, for once, there was also some proactive management and aggressive tactics during the game as well. Redknapp chucked on Chilean striker Eduardo Vargas for Zamora and Rangers came alive once more. They pinned Liverpool back, making an ordinary back four look exactly that, and set sail in search of a deserved equaliser. Glen Johnson and Martin Skrtl both saw yellow for bad fouls, Coutinho for delaying the taking of a free kick. The chances missed earlier gave the distinct impression it wasn’t to be their day, but Liverpool were rocking and Vargas added a pace and movement not previously seen in Hoops this season. With four minutes left for play the substitute crafted a clever equaliser.

Picking the ball up on the right corner of the area during a sustained period of pressure, he curled a cross to the back post with the outside of his right boot where, after a flick on, Austin was able to guide the ball expertly back across the goal, taking Mignolet out of the game, and leaving Vargas to finish emphatically from close range as reward for a positive run when the defenders around him had stopped. Loftus Road erupted. Redknapp celebrated like never before. A deserved reprieve.

And you sensed there was more to come. Liverpool had looked wholly uncomfortable with everything QPR had thrown at them all afternoon, and now they were in a full blown panic. If you can’t cope with the distinctly Championship style of Zamora and Austin then the genuine talent of Vargas is going to terrify in this mood. The Chilean, a pugnacious, muscular ball of testosterone and goal threat, looked set to steal in for a second identical to his first until Skrtl thrust out a desperate leg and diverted the ball away from his head at the far post.

But Liverpool didn’t go close to a league title last season for nothing, and QPR aren’t bottom of the table by accident either. Raheem Sterling, who’d spent most of the day frustrated, or prostrate on the ground, came to life in an extraordinary final five minutes of the game. Given that Enrique had been allowed to deliberately pull back Isla without a yellow card in the first half, and Balotelli was allowed to obstruct Alex McCarthy’s kick in the second without further recourse, Karl Henry could consider himself unlucky to be booked by Dowd for a run-of-the-mill foul in centre-field midway through the second half. A decision that would never have been given against a Liverpool player in a month of wet Sundays and one that would play a crucial role in the heartbreak to come. Henry has never been shy of engaging in the dark arts and would surely have chopped Sterling down as the youngster turned in his own half as the clock struck 90. Instead, nursing the yellow card burden, he let the speedy youngster run into space and from then on Rangers were always struggling. Ultimately it was Coutinho, with plenty still to do, who stole in from that weakened QPR right and felt out the far corner of the net with a precise, low finish.

Rangers have carried as much threat as the Andrex puppy so far this season and having spent 90 minutes, and several gilt-edged chances, getting to one goal it seemed unlikely they’d manage a second in the four added minutes. That reckoned without Vargas, and a Liverpool defence completely unable to deal with any sort of cross into the penalty area. As thoughts turned to an early traffic-beating exit, Vargas sent the place into orbit with a brilliantly angled near post header from a Fer corner that Mignolet could only palm back from behind the line. Thank heavens for goal-line technology, if Dowd had awarded that of his own accord, against Liverpool, in the last minute, to seemingly deny them two points, I’d have given you the money myself.

Given all that, you can forgive QPR wanting to put the ball in the area again when they were awarded a free kick in the very final minute of stoppage time 40 yards from goal. Fer looked like he was going to shoot initially, but would eventually chip the ball into the area seeking the head of a team mate. It would prove a catastrophic misjudgement. QPR were too strung out. Richard Dunne had seen the danger and called reinforcements back but it was to no avail. The chipped straight ball into the box is never a notable route to success and this one was too chipped and too straight. When Liverpool cleared they smelt the chance for an unlikely win. Sterling ran in behind and squared the ball. Steven Caulker, tracking back, couldn’t help but turn it into his own net. I’ve seen some things in my time…

QPR defended appallingly, picked up more injuries to key players, and showed incredible naivety in a frantic finish. Like a 3-2 defeat at home to Spurs in the 1995/96 relegation season, it felt like one of those moments only a team destined for a trip to the division below could conjure.

The farcical nature of it all was pure Queens Park Rangers.

But standing ovations for the team at half time and full time should tell the players and their under-fire manager plenty about what is demanded between now and May. QPR fans want to be entertained, they want to see their team have a go, they want to see effort, they want to see attacking football, and they want to see commitment. They want to see people like Nedum Onuoha and Yun Suk-Young starting and trying their best, not ageing old big-names on book promotion tours – as it turns out, such decisions improve the team considerably as well. They don’t want to hear excuses, they don’t want to see people sitting on the bench looking bored, they don’t want to see people ambling about, and they don’t want their fucking away fixtures described as ‘bonus games’. This was a performance to be really proud of which, if replicated, will bring enough points for survival, starting with three against Villa next week. That game, against a side on a four match losing run without scoring a goal, is a huge one for QPR in the context of the league table, but also to see whether this was a one-off performance on a big occasion, or a fairer indication of what Rangers are capable of.

QPR deserve criticism, for the way the club is run, the way the team is assembled, the money that’s spent, the lack of infrastructure, the management and everything else besides. But on Sunday they deserved praise for a brave, enthusiastic, shrewd, entertaining performance. And they deserved three points.

Cruel, cruel game.

Links >>> Photo Gallery >>> Ratings and Reports >>> Match Thread

QPR: McCarthy 7; Onuoha 8 (Phillips 46, 5), Caulker 6, Dunne 6, Suk-Young 8; Isla 7, Fer 6, Sandro 6 (Traore 60, 5), Henry 8, Zamora 8 (Vargas 79, 8), Austin 6

Subs not used: Ferdinand, Kranjcar, Murphy, Hoilett

Goals: Vargas 86 (assisted Austin), 90+2 (assisted Fer)

Bookings: Dunne 45+1 (foul), Henry 79 (repetitive fouling)

Liverpool: Mignolet 5; Johnson 5, Skrtel 5, Lovren 3, Enrique 6; Henderson 6, Can 5 (Allen 66, 7), Sterling 7 (Toure 90+6, -), Gerrard 6, Lallana 5 (Countinho 66, 8), Balotelli

Subs not used: Jones, Marquillo, Markovic, Lambert

Goals: Dunne og 67 (assisted Sterling), Coutinho 90 (assisted Gerrard), Caulker og 90+6 (assisted Sterling)

Bookings: Johnson 70 (foul), Skrtl 81 (foul), Coutinho 86 (obstructing free kick)

QPR Star Man – Yun Suk-Young 8 A performance that had me harking back to Gino Padula’s breakthrough at the club, against Barnsley midway through the 2002/03 season. Previously ignored by Ian Holloway in favour of less talented options, Padula went on to be a cult hero at QPR and a fine player for the club. No reason to believe our latest South Korean can’t do the same on this evidence.

Referee – Phil Dowd (Staffordshire) 5 A difficult game to referee, highly competitive, played at a high tempo, two committed teams – but too many poor decisions here to be considered for a high mark. QPR should have had a penalty in the first half, Liverpool had a big appeal in the second when Dunne shouldered Balotelli off the ball although I think that one was called right. Enrique executed a cynical shirt-pull after being beaten by a man and escaped without a yellow card when that’s usually a given in those circumstances these days, and yet Henry was booked for an ordinary foul deep in the Liverpool half. Coutinho committed a couple of fouls after his yellow as well and was never spoken to.

Attendance: 18,009 (1,700 Liverpool approx) Far better atmosphere inside Loftus Road, buoyed by the improved performance. If the crowd make that noise, and the team play that well, the Villa game could yield a much needed win.

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Addinall added 11:44 - Oct 21
We deserved to win and we deserved to lose.In that situation it is inevitable,given our current position,that the latter would be the case.But you are right Clive that this sort of performance will see us survive this season.Here's hoping!
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pedrosqpr added 12:01 - Oct 21
It was good to see Redknapps jumping up and down , with Barton in the near future we can hope that we can stop being so naive and make the occasional cynical foul when we make stupid chipped free kicks in the last minute of injury time.
overall I was pleased with effort and still confused why you would leave out Yun and Nedum and playing Isla in his most effective role.
It seems to get the best out of our manager is to rattle him. Can't help thinking Harry might have pd
off because pressure from above were stating the bleeding obvious to put Rio on the bench.
maybe the dinner Harry and Tony this was discussed. Pure speculation.
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Silverfoxqpr added 12:08 - Oct 21
"they were unrecognisable from the earlier games this season. Play like this for the rest of the season they’ll survive with plenty to spare – but there lies the rub" Spot on. I'm desperately trying not to be too cynical but good grief this match highlighted just how abject we've been previously. Don't think I've ever anticipated a starting 11 as much as I will be come 7.00pm next Monday. Cross everything messrs Yun, Onuhoa, Zamora etc keep their places and a certain Mr F stays on the bench.
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isawqpratwcity added 12:44 - Oct 21
great report, clive.

while on the subject of criticising the ref, what about the timing of the last goal?

the stream i was watching said four minutes added time, but we were f*rt-assing about with the free kick at 95' 15''. ''take the bloody thing before the ref blows time'' i thought.

the free came to nothing, so ''time'' i thought, but the ref let the game run for the goal at the other end and the restart.

wtf?
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FrankMac added 12:58 - Oct 21
spot on report, but would say that yes, Ned put in a great display, but he is not a right back, feel his best position is centre back, and in the absence of a rb! would like to see maybe Henry start at rb if barton fit to start in middle with Ned and Caulker in middle of defence

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Northernr added 12:58 - Oct 21
Well time would be added on for the Coutinho goal and the Vargas goal which both came after Dowd had told the fourth official there would be four minutes. So I thought it was fair enough. Caulker spoke to Dowd before the free kick was taken adn seemed to be asking him whether he was going to blow full time as soon as it was either scored or cleared, so he knew whether to go up or not. He didn't go in the end (disaster) so presumably Dowd said there was still another minute or so.
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probbo added 13:18 - Oct 21
It was a gut wrenching way to lose a match that we more than deserved to get something from. Amazing how it always happens to teams down the bottom. But we cracked under two quick counter attacks and as is so often said you have to take your chances at this level.

Some superb individual performances (Zamora stood out for me) but Matt Phillips lacked a bit of confidence and we lost it a down the right in the second half.

Nice to see Redknapp get off his arse for a change and his emphasis on it 'being the best performance since I've been here ' may be right but a rather embarrassing admission after nearly 2 years in charge. Can only guess if this is the start of a sea change (hopefully) or a one off.
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PinnerPaul added 13:35 - Oct 21
Thanks Clive.

Small point Alex M interview on offy seems to substantiate the Rob Green ill story.

Also thought YSY excellent but has to share some blame for the 1st goal.

Can't help feeling that any one of Green, Barton, Zamora and yes Ferdinand would have sorted out the team at the free kick.

I left the ground thinking we were unlucky but on reflection all 3 goals conceded were very poor on our part.

I had same thought about rest of season, play like that - no problem, but my worry is that we will replicate our last two seasons in this division, with our best performances reserved for the best teams - After Man City game 8 out of 10 games are winnable, that run is our key period for me, we have to have collected over 20 points after the Burnley game on Jan 20 or we're toast I think.
1

HastingsRanger added 13:58 - Oct 21
Fine report and fine performance. I wondered if it was just me but would have been disappointed in a draw, let alone ....

Good to see that HR is strong enough to make the call on team selection (if injuries are to be disbelieved) and good to see him half bothered about the game, in and after. Perhaps he's come out of his depression.

The team was so different with Suk-Young and Onuoha at the back and Zamora and Vargas at the front. Vargas's movement up to his first goal was outstanding. McCarthy looked like a great asset too.

My worry is whether this can be consistently be served up. When we are playing well, there is nothing to worry about but this has been rare to date, especially over 90 minutes (fitness topic again).

Still, it was good to watch.
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GloryHunter added 14:11 - Oct 21
A pedant writes:
Raheem Sterling played at Loftus Road for Liverpool two years ago. I remember booing the greedy little $hit.
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onlyrinmoray added 15:15 - Oct 21
Watched the game 500 miles away up north with my son A Liverpool supporter Im sorry to say but he is a genuine red We spent most of the match laughing. He as Liverpool were so shttt especially Balotelli and me for knowing Rangers would screw it up
Great game though and finally a performance. Harrys view afterwards saying it was the best performance for 2 years since he arrived, makes me wonder what he and his team have been doing each week
The comments about Tarrabt were out of order Im no fan of him due to his attitude but Redknapp was appallingly unprofessional If there is a problem surely he and his team should have dealt with it
Sterling is a fantastic player leave him alone Im proud he started with us
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steveB66 added 16:44 - Oct 21
QPR fans want to be entertained, they want to see their team have a go, they want to see effort, they want to see attacking football, and they want to see commitment. NUFF SAID CLIVE.
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AgedR added 17:00 - Oct 21
I've been commiserated by various at work this week so far, but, my response has been "thanks, but, we were excellent for 60 minutes".

Daft game to lose, but, I stand by my comment, we were excellent for 60 minutes and, for the first time in ages, I actually enjoyed it.
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Spiritof67 added 18:14 - Oct 21
A much better performance full of passion and effort meant we pressed Liverpool from the start. We were made to pay for our inability to score in the first half and despite deserving to be at least 2-0 up at half time; with Gerrard’s shot which, just passed the post before the end of the first half, and Balotelli’s gaping miss in front of goal in the second half would have meant an even more undeserved result for Liverpool.

Hopefully lessons have been learnt by the team in being more professional and alert. The majority of the team switched off for the free kick for the first goal and the lesson was there for all to see when Couthino stood over the ball and was booked for obstructing the free kick allowing Liverpool to re-group..

Sitting in the Upper Loft watching Fer line up to take the free kick I just sat there hoping he would either blast the ball into row Z or aim for the corner flag to kill time and a delayed goal kick. After getting back to 2-2 we should have held onto the point.

Not that I’m condoning professional fouls but we needed Gary O’Neil to be playing as he would have certainly taken one for the team and stopped a player in his tracks before the third goal.

Lets hope we have the same type of commitment against Villa.
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Kaos_Agent added 20:01 - Oct 21
Thanks Clive. There is finally cause for optimism assuming that Harry doesn't fiddle with the team selection, as he is wont to do. Who'd have thought that we'd have player ratings of five 8's, two 7's and five 6's in combination with zero points? Massively entertaining game in any case.
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TacticalR added 22:03 - Oct 21
For 60 minutes we had a good team and kept a clean sheet. Unfortunately things started to unravel when Sandro had to come off.

Yun. We now have a left-back.

McCarthy. Great debut including a great save from from Lallana.

Traoré's clowning around started from the moment he came on to replace the injured Sandro. First he gave away the free kick. Then he turned his back on the free kick. What was impressive was that even though he wasn't playing as a defender he still managed to screw up our defence! In the TV commentary Brad Friedel pointed out the numerous errors Traoré made in the short time he was on.

Vargas. Great first goal...he's up and running.

Isla. Much better in the first half playing as a winger with Onuoha behind. In the second half we just didn't look the same without a dedicated right-back. Isla did ok challenging Coutinho higher up the pitch, but for the second Liverpool goal he left Coutinho too much space near to our box and let him cut in.

Dunne. Quite a commanding performance that showed what a bundle of nothingness Rio Ferdinand really is.

Fer. Yes, some lapses, especially on the set pieces, and should have put the first chance away, but looked excellent I thought.

Despite everything, for me the positives outweighed the negatives. We've said for ages that there is not much enjoyment in watching QPR, and that was an enjoyable game of football.
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Philothesuperhoop added 22:17 - Oct 21
great report Clive thanks. Can anyone really shed any light on Rio? Was he dropped or injured? We need to know because if he was injured he'll be put back in next Monday. We were so much better with Dunne in there. Also this is an awful thing to say as I love Charlie......but didn't Bobby show him what a premiership striker needs to do!
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dixiedean added 14:10 - Oct 22
so many positives, yet undone by moments of naivety, not bad luck IMO . Half the team falling asleep for a free kick around your own penalty area and conceding an OG is not bad luck, nor is missing an almost open goal from a few yards out. Poor play in both cases. For me that lapse cost Yun MOM and I think BZ is more deserving, but was left on too long .In games like this you have to score when you are on top as it was obvious the Scousers wouldn't be so crap I the 2nd half, and so it proved . We had 3 golden chances to go 1-0 up and spurned them all. That's where the game was lost IMO.And it was great to see HR animated for the first time this season. Even before the game he was shouting at the photographers to F *** off out of his way. Hopefully all the talk of pressure got under his skin and finally got him out of his comfort zone. Long may he stay out of it. Sad that he & Adel should engage in an unseemly & childish exchange which has taken a lot of the shine off a good performance. Both should be find for bringing the club into disrepute for another incidence of ill-discipline. HR should know better. Villa is now a crucial game in terms of momentum for the season. Interesting to see who's in goal for that game.
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windsorloop added 15:52 - Oct 22
Many Thanks Clive for another comprehensive account of the game. From the outset I was of the opinion that Dowd was his usual cavalier attitude in referring the game. In the case of Ballotelli obstructing McCarthy was a mandatory yellow card, he had stopped the game so there was no excuse. I believe Yun got us into the play-offs with his outstanding play & then not play him was criminal
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PinnerPaul added 13:00 - Oct 23
Windsorloop - The Balotelli GK incident is NOT a mandatory yellow card.
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