QPR stun Liverpool with dramatic comeback
QPR 3 Liverpool 2
Djibril Cisse had promised to show his former employers no mercy - and the Rs’ striker was as good as his word as he inspired a stunning comeback from QPR against Liverpool on Wednesday night.
Former Liverpool star Cisse’s 85th-minute header paved the way for the most dramatic of winners for Jamie Mackie, who slotted the ball underneath Pepe Reina with moments to go.
That goal sparked absolute pandemonium at Loftus Road, as Mark Hughes’s side leapt above Bolton Wanderers and out of the Premier League drop zone.
Shaun Derry had earlier given the Rs a sliver of hope, heading in his first goal of the season to make it 2-1 after Sebastian Coates and Dirk Kuyt had given Liverpool a seemingly insurmountable lead.
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It was an extraordinary climax to what had been a largely mundane Rangers performance, but this result will give the west Londoners genuine hope that they can escape relegation this season.
Luis Suarez should have given the visitors a third-minute lead, capitalising on a mistake by Nedum Onuoha and sprinting clear, but the Uruguayan was denied by a fine save from Paddy Kenny.
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The Reds forced nine corners inside the opening 15 minutes - which all came to nothing - and they might have been made to pay at the other end had Djibril Cisse kept his 20-yard drive on target.
Martin Skrtel headed a corner over the crossbar, but Rangers were gradually settling after Liverpool’s vibrant start, Pepe Reina doing well to tip away Luke Young’s dangerous deflected cross.
Cisse drilled a shot from 25 yards which whistled a whisker wide of Reina’s left-hand post.
The final minutes of the half - in contrast to the first - belonged to QPR, but the most they could muster was a speculative shot from Samba Diakite which flew over the crossbar.
Liverpool took the lead on 53 minutes from an unlikely source; Rangers failed to clear their lines from a corner, and Sebastian Coates lashed a scissors-kick volley past the helpless Kenny.
Mark Hughes responded to that goal by hauling off his skipper Joey Barton, who was roundly booed by the QPR fans as he departed the pitch, who in turn cheered for his replacement Jamie Mackie.
Dirk Kuyt then played in Stewart Downing with a chance to double Liverpool’s lead, only to see his shot well-saved by Kenny, however, the Reds were soon to add to QPR’s misery.
Suarez twisted his way into the penalty area and fired a shot across Kenny which bounced off the post. Downing picked up the rebound only to also be denied, but Dirk Kuyt tapped in the rebound.
That lead was quickly halved as Rangers finally fought back. The otherwise quiet Adel Taarabt swung in a corner, and Derry climbed high to head into the bottom corner.
Loftus Road sensed a comeback, and they were to get one. Four minutes from time, Taye Taiwo sent a cross from the left, and Cisse was left un-marked to head past a startled Reina.
Better was to follow. A pass forward was totally misjudged by Jose Enrique, and Mackie burst through on goal to fire the ball underneath Reina, to seal the unlikeliest of victories.
At the final whistle Loftus Road was rocking - perhaps to the sound of Premier League survival.