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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

QPR Report Tuesday Update: A Look at QPR...Five Goals For Liverpool's Ex-QPR Youth International

- Enlarged Photo I...Enlarged Photo II....QPR at Park Royal
-Throughout the day, updates, comments and perspectives re QPR and football in general are posted and discussed on the QPR Report Messageboard...Also Follow: QPR REPORT ON TWITTER

- Voting Closes today for Championship Player of the Year Nominations

- On This Day in Football: Two QPR Birthdays...Roger Morgan Made his Spurs Debut against...Queens Park Rangers - Enlarged Photo

- Three Years Ago: The QPR squad was relaxing/training in Portugal

- Four Year Flashback: "The Crazy World of QPR"

- February 28 Deadline to Pay Antonio Caliendo 2 Million Pounds?

- Rowan Vine MK Dons Loan Extended till March 14

- Championship Team Of the Week (None from QPR)

Guardian Blog/Michael Hann
The questions QPR must answer

Nottingham Forest's trip to Loftus Road could have been a title decider, but instead QPR still have issues to resolve

QPR fans went to Loftus Road at the weekend expecting to learn whether Neil Warnock's team really is set for automatic promotion. A win against Nottingham Forest – who'd won their six previous Championship games and are unbeaten since a 1-0 loss at Leicester in November – and the Rs would surely be mentally celebrating promotion. A loss and the race for the two automatic slots would have been wide open, and Forest would have become favourites for the title. But a 1-1 draw against a side who sat back and soaked up pressure after having a man sent off? It told us next to nothing.

Instead we're still pondering these questions:

1. Are QPR a one-man team?

Back in August I wrote on this blog that Adel Taarabt was so dominant it raised worries about where QPR would find inspiration in his absence. Astonishingly, he hasn't yet been absent, and his dominance has continued: he tops the division's assists table, with 12, and he's the third leading scorer, with 14, half of which could be used to compile a personal goal of the season contest. The QPR team is built to serve him, and he has rewarded Neil Warnock's faith in him a hundredfold. Inevitably, though, teams have decided that if they stop Taarabt, they stop QPR. Derby and Hull succeeded spectacularly at nullifying his threat on their own grounds, but they couldn't beat QPR – and for all the "wheels have come off" doom-mongering in December, Rangers have still only lost three. What's more, the loan signing of Wayne Routledge from Newcastle has given Rangers a second creative attacking option for the surprisingly few days when Taarabt's mind is elsewhere, and so far he's made a decisive contribution to two games, scoring the winners against Reading and Coventry (the latter assisted by something astonishing from Taarabt). Only a fool, however, would deny Taarabt's astounding influence on the course of the Championship this season. So, a one-man team? Sort of: but he couldn't be that one man without the work of the other 10, who understand their job is to help him shine.

2. Is Neil Warnock any good with strikers?

On the evidence of this season, no: or at least he doesn't play a system that allows them to flourish. QPR play a system with a lone forward at the front of a 4-2-3-1, and the 1 in that formation has scored just four goals, excluding penalites. Rob Hulse, who shares the position with Heidar Helguson, has started to draw the ire of the Loftus Road crowd. That's not so much because of his scoring record – just the one goal – but because he isn't winning the headers or holding the ball up in the way his physical presence suggests he should. What's more, his size encourages the team to hit the ball high and long, when the best football QPR have played was earlier in the season, with the shorter Helguson upfront. With a smaller target, the ball was played to Helguson's feet more often, enabling him to hold up play and bring the three midfielders into the picture. Jamie Mackie, in particular, benefitted from Helguson's presence. Ishmael Miller, a loan signing from West Brom, has done nothing in the centre-forward slot yet to suggest he's any better than Hulse, though he troubled Forest when moved to the right wing in yesterday's second half.

3. Is QPR's defence too brittle?

This is one that baffles the W12 regulars. Steve Claridge, on the BBC, has criticised the Rangers defence several times (in fact, he seems to make a habit of criticising QPR) – but it's the tightest in the division by far, with 19 conceded (Forest are the next best, with 24). Paddy Kenny has been revelatory in goal, and the four in front of him have been consistently solid. It's not that there are no issues: the central pairing of Kaspars Gorkss and Matt Connolly are decent on the ball, but lack pace and are too happy to let the ball bounce. They'll be punished in the Premiership. And the full backs – Clint Hill and Bradley Orr - will surely see their deficiencies exposed. In fact, we caught a glimpse of that in the home game against Portsmouth, when Orr was targeted as a weak link and given a torrid time before Rangers eased into a lead they then never looked like surrendering. But for the Championship? There's no question: this back four is by far the best in the division.

4. Can QPR afford to miss promotion?

In a word, no. The journalist Dave McIntyre, who supports QPR and has covered them for many years, recently offered a succinct explanation on his excellent blog. The long and the short of it is that QPR owe their owners £10m, and that money's due. Without promotion, there's no way to repay it. Still, we at Loftus Road have spent a decade and a half understanding that every silver lining has a cloud." - Michael Hann is the Guardian's Film & Music editor Guardian

Raheem Sterling Scores Five


LIVERPOOL OFFICIAL SITE - Rampant Reds rout Southend

Raheem Sterling scored five times as Liverpool U18s stormed into the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup with a 9-0 win over Southend United at Anfield.

Three strikes in six first-half minutes put the Reds into an unassailable lead, with Sterling bagging a brace and Conor Coady firing home from the penalty spot all before the midway point of the opening period.

Sterling completed his hat-trick on 35 minutes and Stephen Sama and Adam Morgan headers made it six for Liverpool before half-time.

The winger added his fourth and the Reds' seventh on 56 minutes with another jinking run and finish.

Sterling bagged a fifth with a cool finish on 85 minutes and Toni Silva wrapped up the scoring as Rodolfo Borrell's side booked their place in the last eight in emphatic fashion.

The U18s had comprehensively dispatched Notts County and Crystal Palace en route to the fifth round - two results that contributed to the seven-match unbeaten run they took into their showdown with Southend.

Borrell's men kicked-off aiming to set up a mouth-watering last eight clash with either Manchester United or Newcastle as they continued their bid to reach a fourth Youth Cup final in just six years.

The Spanish tactician named the same starting XI that had taken to the field against Palace in early January, while Southend included two players with first-team experience in their team in the shape of Alex Woodyard and Julian Okai.

The hosts nearly made a dream start when Jack Robinson almost somewhat inadvertently steered Suso's corner onto the base of the post inside the opening 60 seconds.

Sterling went closest next, cutting in from the left and curling an effort over the bar on 15 minutes.

But the Shrimpers were in no mood to lie down in the opening exchanges and they almost broke the deadlock themselves moments later. Woodyard's cross was misjudged by Duane Ofori-Acheampong, but the ball dropped invitingly for James Stevens.

The Southend skipper scuffed his attempt goalwards, but the ball was creeping into the bottom corner until Sama cleared off the line.

It was a real let off for Liverpool - but the visitors were soon made to pay for their profligacy.

It was Sterling who put the Reds into an 18th minute lead. Tyrell Belford's long goalkick was allowed to bounce through and find the winger's run, and he made no mistake with a composed finish beyond Daniel Bentley.

If there was a slight suggestion of fortune in Liverpool's opener, then Sterling's second on 21 minutes was all down to sheer talent.

Collecting the ball on the left wing, the diminutive No.7 surged into the area, dancing beyond three Southend defenders, before dispatching an effort into the Kop end goal.

Three minutes later and Borrell's side added a third. Morgan was brought down inside the area by Dominic Iorfa, allowing Coady the chance to crash a penalty into the roof of the net.

Liverpool were totally dominant - and Sterling duly completed his hat-trick on 34 minutes.

Craig Roddan's challenge on Stevens 25 yards from goal allowed the ball to break for Sterling inside the Southend box. The end result was never in doubt as he finished with aplomb.

The Reds were showing no signs of letting up and Sama headed home Krisztian Adorjan's corner to make it 5-0 eight minutes before the break.

There was still time for another before the break and Morgan nodded home Adorjan's free-kick to extend the Reds' advantage even further in stoppage time.

The hosts' onslaught continued after half-time and after Sterling's swerving effort had narrowly evaded the post, substitute Toni Silva saw an effort deflected onto the crossbar by Bentley.

But Sterling was not to be denied his fourth and on 56 minutes, he again burst beyond three Southend defenders before slipping a low shot out of Bentley's reach and into the top corner. It was simply sublime stuff from the former QPR teenager.

Substitutes Joshua Sumner and Jason Banton combined well on 67 minutes, resulting in the former rolling a strike against the post, while Ofori-Acheampong looped over on a rare sortie forward from the guests.

With five minutes left on the clock, Sterling guided a low shot across Bentley and into the bottom corner to claim his fifth of the night before Silva wrapped up the scoring on 90 minutes.

It proved to be the final act on a night that will live long in the memory for Liverpool fans, and Borrell's troops can now look forward to an Anfield quarter-final date with either Manchester United or Newcastle.

On this form, neither of those two sides will be looking forward to the clash with the Reds.

Liverpool U18s: Belford, Flanagan, Robinson, Sama, McGiveron, Coady, Sterling, Roddan, Morgan (Sumner 46), Adorjan (Silva 46), Suso (Banton 64). Subs: Stephens, Regan.

Liverpoolfc.tv man of the match: Raheem Sterling

LIVERPOOL POST/Chris Wright - Liverpool FC Youth 9 Southend United 0: Raheem Sterling hits five as Reds cruise in the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals (VIDEO)

1ShareAdd a commentRecommend RAHEEM STERLING put on a five-star show as Liverpool Youth crushed Southend United 9-0 at Anfield last night.

The fleet-footed left winger grabbed five stunning goals as the Reds youngsters cruised into the last eight of the FA Youth Cup and another Anfield date with either Manchester United or Newcastle United.

Kenny Dalglish had said only last week that he would have no hesitation about using some of the club’s brightest stars in the first team this season if needed.

The likes of Sterling, Suso and captain Conor Coady were all handed squad numbers recently as reward for their progress.

And with the Liverpool manager watching on from the Main Stand, the Reds’ young charges showed that his faith in their abilities certainly doesn’t look misplaced.

It was a star-studded performance throughout with further goals from Coady via the penalty spot, Stephen Sama, Adam Morgan and substitute Toni Silva completing a marvellous victory for Rodolfo Borrell’s side.

But it was the dazzling efforts of the Jamaican-born Sterling, wearing the famous number seven jersey, that caught the eye of all those at Anfield.

Bought from Queens Park Rangers for a fee that could rise as high as £5million if he goes all the way, Sterling was mesmerising at times

Add a commentRecommend Sterling’s five goals as he cut in from the flanks before delivering superb finishes past Southend keeper Daniel Bentley were reminiscent of Liverpool’s former Jamaican-born wing wizard John Barnes.

England youth international Sterling only just turned 16 in December, but he looks to have a bright future.

The Youth Cup has been the platform for many of the stars of the past, with Michael Owen bursting onto the scene during Liverpool’s successful run to glory in 1996. Sterling has similar qualities to the young Owen, with pace, quick feet and cool finishing.

And he had been a danger in the early stages before he gave Liverpool the lead on 18 minutes.

Following a scramble in the Liverpool area when Stephen Sama cleared off the line, almost immediately the winger broke through on to a long ball out of the defence and coolly finished into the bottom corner form just inside the area.

Then within two minutes the youngster scored a superb individual effort to double the lead. He drifted in from the left-wing on a mazy run past several defenders before curling home past Bentley.

Liverpool continued to pour forward and virtually secured their passage to the quarter-finals when captain Conor Coady made it 3-0 form the penalty spot.

Morgan was brought down and the England youth international skipper crashed his spot-kick high into the roof of the Kop goal.

Sterling then completed his hat-trick 10 minutes before the break after Craig Roddan had won the ball, he sidestepped a defender before curling home.

Two minutes later Sama made it 5-0 when heading home Krisztian Adorjan’s corner.

Liverpool-born striker Morgan then headed home a sixth in injury time from another Adorjan delivery from a free-kick to end an astonishing first-half attacking display.

Seven minutes into the second half substitute Silva was denied by a superb save by Southend keeper after being sent through by Sterling.

Three minutes later, though, Sterling scored another superb effort for his fourth and Liverpool’s seventh.

He again cut in from the wing, gliding past defenders before firing into the bottom corner.

On 68 minutes substitute Josh Sumner saw his shot come back off the post following good work by Silva.

But with five minutes remaining Sterling scored his fifth, this time coming in from the right wing and firing in another low effort.

In the final minute Silva completed the rout with the ninth.

On this form Liverpool will be a match for anyone and they have a big chance of reaching a fourth Youth Cup final in the past six years.

LIVERPOOL YOUTH: Belford, Flanagan, Robinson, Sama, McGiveron, Coady, Sterling, Roddan, Morgan (Sumner 45), Adorjan (Silva 45), Suso (Banton 64). Subs: Stephens, Regan.


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- Messageboard Year Flashback: Advocating QPR Should Do More for Aging Ex-QPR Players (Remians just as true today)
- FA Statement on Players Use of Social Networking Sites (Twitter, etc)
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- Ex-QPR Bertie Brayley Joins Harlow
- Old Videos
- A second book about Bernie Ecclestone

- The Logos/Crests of Other League and Premiership Clubs

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