The Reds will be traveling to Loftus Road to take on bottom-of-the-table Queens Park Rangers. QPR is also coming off a loss, being defeated, 2-1, to West Brom. Under Harry Redknapp, the club has finally won a game, but QPR has such a myriad of problems that almost no manager in the world can solve them.
It should be an interesting matchup as Liverpool has been so up and down all season. The club looks like world-beaters one week, only to lose, 3-1 to the Aston Villas of the Premier League.
Here's everything you need for the meeting at Loftus Road this Sunday.
Where: Loftus Road, London, England
When: Sunday, Dec. 30 at 11 a.m. ET
Watch: FOX Soccer
Live Stream: FOX Soccer 2Go
What's At Stake?
For Liverpool, Champions League qualification is almost certainly out the window. The Reds are only 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.
What They're Saying
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was rightfully very critical of his team's performance against Stoke City, saying (via The Guardian):
"That was the biggest frustration, the nature of the goals we conceded," Rodgers said. "They were quite straightforward to defend. The first one followed an unfortunate slip [by Martin Skrtel] but on the other two, we have to be better than that. They were all very, very soft."
Rodgers admitted that the same might have been true of his team's attitude. "It's not all about football," he said. "You have to earn the right to play. We are hoping to find this in the group, otherwise we are never going to progress. We have some big characters but tonight it was too easy."
Redknapp was very critical of the officiating in the loss to West Brom. QPR keeper Rob Green scored an own goal, with Redknapp and QPR supporters arguing he was fouled. Redknapp said (via The Guardian):
"How can a goalkeeper play the ball when the fella is backing into him?" asked Redknapp. "Someone said Rob should have pushed him over, but he would have given a penalty then. Fortuné had no intention of playing the ball. He just wanted to stop Green getting to the ball, and that's obstruction … It was a blatant foul."
This is the first time Liverpool and Queens Park Rangers are meeting since QPR's 3-2 in Loftus Road last March. The club scored all three of their goals after the 77th minute.
Queens Park Rangers Player to Watch: Adel Taarabt
Midfielder Adel Taarabt earned himself an unsavory reputation when Mark Hughes was manager. Taarabt's effort in training was particularly poor.
He has been a different player under Redknapp. The manager has slotted him in just behind the striker. It was Taarabt's two goals that gave QPR its first victory of the season.
If Queens Park Rangers are going to get anything from this match, Taarabt is going to have to pull the strings.
Liverpool Player to Watch: Luis Suarez
You could almost choose Luis Suarez as the player to watch for Liverpool every match. With 11 league goals, he has almost three times as Steven Gerrard, who's second on the team with four.
It was Suarez's move that earned the Reds a penalty against Stoke City, leading to their only goal.
On his best day, the Uruguayan can be one of the best strikers in the world. As a result, the entire Liverpool attack is irresistible. Consequently, when Suarez is off, the Reds struggle greatly.
Queens Park Rangers were unlucky to suffer defeat at the hands of West Brom. The club has been playing much better with Redknapp at the helm. It still might not be enough to avoid relegation.
As said before, Liverpool have been one of the more inconsistent teams all season. You can expect the Reds to make a strong response following their loss to Stoke.
This match could really go either way. You could envision QPR snatching a victory, or Liverpool scoring three or four. It's likely to be somewhere in between.
Liverpool 2, Queens Park Rangers 0