Spyin' Kop - QPR v LFC, 30th December

Posted by The 5th Benitle on December 24, 2012, 01:23:27 PM

Sunday, December 30th 2012



I put my name down to do this Spyin' Kop for our last game of 2012 because, I'll admit it, I have a huge soft spot for QPR (though I wish they had a more likeable manager). They're round the corner from me, my brother is a season ticket holder and I have quite a few mates who are proper QPR fans. It's them I've reached out to. The answers below are from my mates Dan and Nick.
Last season you escaped relegation by the skin of your teeth – helped by your 3-2 victory against us! How do you rate your chances of beating the drop this time?

Dan: Our chances are slim. Very slim. Hughes has saddled us with a squad of overpaid journeymen. It's only taken Harry a few games to realise that the hard grafters of the Championship winning side are what we need. Work rate and effort. The players Hughes signed look great on paper but that's where it ends - on paper. Only Nelson and M'Bia look decent, with Nelson being the pick of the bunch. Do I think we can stay up this time? Depends on who Harry can bring in during January.
Nick: Slim to none. Lots of other bad teams around us but they seem to be capable of picking up points against each other, we're not even doing that.

We’ve had some well documented issues with previous owners. From the outside looking in, what do you think about our present owners so far and how positive they have been for us after Hicks and Gillett's disastrous reign? Your owner Tony Fernandes seems a sensible bloke, what do you make of him?

Dan: Our owner is probably the most open and honest owner in the Premier League. Maybe too open and honest at times but the fans love him. He's put his money where his mouth is and I like what we has to say (in general). The plans he has for the club are exciting - new training ground, focus on youth and the possibility of a new stadium irrespective of our league status. Let's wait and see.
As for your owners, the handling of the last transfer window seemed beyond bizarre. As an outsider looking in, it seemed like they left Rodgers in the lurch (especially on the strikers front). Will be very interesting to see how they approach the new window, very interesting.
Nick: Your new owners seems far more balanced compared to the previous regime. That said though, as with QPR's position, any new owner will look good when compared to their predecessors!
I like Fernandes but I am worried that he needs to be savvier as an owner and maybe not quite so hands on/ approachable with the fans. I'd much prefer he treated the club as something he needs to back in terms of a business rather than coming out with the "I'm as much a fan as the next man".

Your form has improved since the arrival of Harry Redknapp. What is he bringing to the table that Mark Hughes could not, in terms of tactics, selection and motivation?

Dan: Effort. As I said above, he very quickly identified that many of our players simply didn't care. He quickly realised that and then addressed it by playing the players who wanted to graft and fight for every situation. Some of our players were not pulling their weight and he noticed that. The fans were giving him pretty vocal cues too. His comment that we'd be ok if we had eleven Jamie Mackie's summed that up nicely. Jamie Mackie is probably 20% skill, 80% heart. That's all we ask for. The effort should be a given, then you add quality to the effort. This wasn't the case under Hughes, who isolated the players with effort (like Clint Hill - our player of the year last term).
Nick: Harry understands that the fighters, those who were at the club when we were promoted can play a pivotal role in the team. Tactics wise we're not much different, the balance of the team (too many midfielders, not enough defenders and one fit striker) means he can't stray too far from how Hughes set us up, the difference though, I guess, is the management style, Hughes is known to be very hands off with the players whilst Harry is the complete opposite.

What do you think will happen in January? You have the King of the transfer window in charge, who do you think you’ll bring in and who will leave?

Dan: I doubt anyone will leave. We can't afford to trim the squad, we're down to bare bones as is. We desperately need a couple of strikers. Cisse is our only recognised striker and you guys know what he offers. We need more than that, more variety. We also need more quality cover at centre back, not Anton Ferdinand - who's efforts have been no short of abysmal recently. So, hopefully a couple of bodies, without spending too much of Tony's hard earned money (and taking his pants down as Arry puts it). Demba Ba at £7m would be the exception in my opinion. Actually, I'd take Becks too, if push comes to shove...
Nick: Boswinga to go is a certainty, whether we bring lots of new faces in, I don't know. If I was Fernandes I wouldn't want to throw money at the problem, but there are enough players bench warming across the Premiership that we should be able to pick up a couple of loan signings. Dawson at Spurs seems to be a recurring name as does Anelka.

We’ve had an up and down season so far. What do you think about us, and how do you think Brendan Rodgers has done?

Dan: I like his style. Pass, pass, pass. It's the Liverpool groove after all. However, we played his Swansea side a few times and it sometimes bored me to see a back four keep ball, side to side, for about 5 mins. That's negative. I can't imagine the Liverpool fans will love the SUPER patient game to be honest. I think it's going to take time. Time and money. At the moment his Liverpool team seem there for the taking. I'm sure this will change as he adds more proven quality to the squad.

Nick: I think you're a team (and club) in transition (major transition!), when you play well you're very good, but all too often you lose focus and drift through games (normally losing) which previously you would have won.
The return on Lucas should help as will getting a new striker in January.
Rodgers, as with your favourite Red manager from down the road, is a manager that needs to be given time to build a team that can compete, he's proved he's tactically capable, he just needs the right players to do that. There's no reason why Liverpool can't be back competing at the level they should be. It will take time though and that means patience, which is a scarce commodity in football.

On to the game. Who do you think QPR’s major threats will be, which players should we pay particular attention to? How do you think you’ll line up?

Dan: Adel Taarabt. Easy. At home especially. On his day simply unplayable. Premier League fans have doubted Adel but I'm certain he will get better and better with more Prem experience. He is a pure maverick, in the Stan Bowles and Rodney Marsh mould - and I don't say that lightly. "Nutmegs, I prefer". The best player I have ever seen live in a QPR shirt, and I'm 33.
We will line up 4-4-1-1, with Taarabt just behind Cisse. If Adel can find pockets in-between your back four and midfield then I think we could have a chance. We tend to do better against the 'big' sides, especially at home.
Nick: Adel Taraabt is far and away our best player. You'll definitely double up on him, everyone else you can pretty much leave alone!
We'll start with our normal 4321 formation and stay that way for most of the 90 minutes.

Thoughts on Djibril Cisse? He used to delight me and infuriate me in equal measures when at LFC. Has he learnt the offside rule yet?

Dan: No. He must never look along the line. He hasn't changed. Last season he saved us, and was hungry and full of energy. Scored goals and saved us from the drop. He looked deadly. Every time he was near the ball he looked like scoring. This season is almightily different. His effort has significantly dropped and the fans are noticing. He even offered a Rangers fan out on Twitter! This doesn't go unnoticed. Last season his goals and all round effort made him somewhat of a cult hero amongst the R's fans, this season he might have to work a little harder to achieve such status. Still a threat though.
Nick: He's an obvious talent, but a lazy one and as you've said, doesn't understand the offside rule.
We're a better team with him on the pitch, but he needs to concentrate more on being a forward who can score as well as hold up the ball, because at the moment he's all flicks and tricks that aren't coming off and means we surrender possession all too easily.

Which Liverpool players do you see as a big threat and why?

Dan: Two players. Gerrard and Suarez. Both are on the same wavelength and both offer different threats. Those two in combination could be deadly on their day. Sterling (a Rangers boy by the way) has been interesting this season. The school of QPR coming out in him - shame we never saw him in an R's shirt. I guess money talks
Nick: Suarez, because when he's good he's awesome. Gerrard is still class but has lost a lot of his lustre from previous years.
Mainly though I am looking forward to see Sterling play, as an ex QPR player it pains me that he's no longer with us, however when he has the ball at his feet and is running at defenders he is great to watch

Apart from the 3-2 last season, which games between the two clubs do you particularly remember (fondly or otherwise). My favourite memory is from a long time ago, a 4-0 victory for us including a worldy from John Barnes. You also feature in my favourite ever non-LFC game, the Dennis Bailey 5-1.

Dan: My dad always reminds me of the 1975/76 2-0 win at Loftus Road. Gerry Francis got goal of the season with a 'Liverpool move' from the back. The result showed that we meant business that season. A really sexy QPR side that has inspired a generation of R's fans. Probably the best ever QPR side - just pipped at the post by you lot on the last day at Wolves. Gutted. Also, the 1986 League Cup, where we won it by an own goal - Gillespie I think it was.
Nick: I'll just stick with the 3-2 from last season thanks! :-)

Finally, what scoreline are you predicting?

Dan: Tough. I think you could quite easily hammer us. However, we could quite easily surprise you. With that in mind I'm going for a score draw. 1-1.
Nick: 0-2 Liverpool (we never win when we're on the box and I think Nelsen is still out, so that means Ferdinand is in defence and that's a guaranteed loss for us)

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