By Christopher Boulay
Liverpool entertains Premier League new boys Queen’s Park Rangers Saturday, a team that they have not faced at home in the league since 1995. The Reds are coming off of a disappointing loss at Fulham on Monday. This is the third newly promoted side the club will face this season, and Kenny Dalglish’s men will be looking to not start off with anything less than five points from those three matches.
It won’t be easy. With the club learning how to deal with the loss of Lucas Leiva for the year, it got more complicated when Jay Spearing was sent off with a straight red on Monday. This will force him to miss three matches, starting with the clash with the Hoops.
Neil Warnock’s side has done well as of late, and they find themselves in a comfortable position in the table. While the club has dealt with some slip-ups, they have fared well against strong competition. The Hoops waltzed into a match against arch-rivals Chelsea earlier this year, and snuck out with a 1-0 victory. In addition, QPR narrowly lost to Manchester City, in a match that could have gone either way. But will Liverpool face that side, or the side that was drubbed by Bolton and Fulham?
QPR may have Adel Taarabt back for the match, as he is returning from a leg injury. However, if he cannot go, the Hoops will still have Joey Barton, Shawn Wright-Phillips and the impressive Heidar Helguson, who likely will be playing his 250th match in the league. The weak point of the squad could be in net, where Radek Cerny is starting. He is the club’s third-choice goalkeeper, as Paddy Kenny and Brian Murphy are injured. The West London boys could be without Kieron Dyer, Matt Connolly and D.J. Campbell, who are all injured, but returned to training this week. If they feature, it will probably be from the bench.
Steven Gerrard returned to training this week after an ankle infection kept him sidelined for an extended period of time. However, Captain Fantastic will likely be out for a couple more weeks. Until then, the club will have to continue with a depleted midfield.
It will be interesting to see if Dalglish will add Maxi Rodriguez to the starting lineup. The Argentine has been great for the Reds in his rare appearances for the club, and it may be a better time than ever for him to work his way into the squad.
Liverpool v QPR
When: Monday, December 10th, 1500 GMT / 1000 EST
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
EPL: Liverpool 7th (23 points), Fulham 12th (16 points)
Probable QPR Starting XI:
DEF: Gabbidon, Traore, Young, Ferdinand
MID: Taarabt*, Barton, Faurlin, Wright-Phillips
FW: Bothroyd, Helguson
Subs from: Putnins, Orr, Hill, Derry, Buzsaky, Smith, Connolly, Mackie, (Taarabt recovering from injury)
Probable Liverpool Starting XI:
DEF: Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique
MID: Kuyt, Adam, Henderson, Maxi
FW: Suarez, Carroll
Subs from: Doni, Downing, Kelly, Carragher, Bellamy, Coates, Aurélio, Wilson, Flanagan, Shelvey
Interact: What’s your final score predictions? Comment below.