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Thursday 23 October 2014

Redknapp hoping Cole can fire QPR as fans revolt after Reds run riot

IT TOOK only 28 minutes of embarrassingly one-sided football at Loftus Road for a pre-match atmosphere of nervous hope to descend into outright revolt.

Queens Park Rangers were already three goals behind, had barely ventured outside their own half and the players, not for the first time this season, were being loudly accused of "only being here for the money".

Dozens of QPR fans even headed straight for the exit, with one fan encapsulating the general despair by throwing his coat and hat towards the pitch before turning to aim a double V-sign at his team.

It was an act of passion and defiance that eclipsed anything being produced by the QPR players. Tony Fernandes, the chairman, was almost as forthright in his analysis. "No excuse," he wrote. "Lost for words. Back to the drawing board. Woeful performance."

The first rebuilding step looks likely to be the signing of Liverpool's Joe Cole, who is close to agreeing a deal to join when the transfer window opens tomorrow.

Cole, one of Liverpool's top earners on an estimated £90,000 a week, has been given permission to speak to clubs because he is not part of Brendan Rodgers' plans.

It now looks like his Anfield nightmare is over, with Harry Redknapp, his manager when he was a young player at West Ham, hoping to revive the midfielder's career and QPR's season.



Honeymoon

After a brief honeymoon under Redknapp, QPR have now lost three in a row and looked worse during the first half yesterday than at their lowest ebb under Mark Hughes, when they were beaten 3-1 by Southampton in his last game as manager.

Not only were they initially devoid of even the most basic defensive resilience, they looked afraid to get on the ball, ending an extraordinarily one-sided first half having had only 23 per cent of possession.

Redknapp, to his credit, did acknowledge the exceptional first-half quality of Liverpool and Luis Suarez -- "we couldn't get near them" -- but insisted his team would still survive. "You'll think we're mad, but I think we will stay up," he said.

Redknapp has publicly questioned the wages being paid to some of his squad and, yesterday, he raised questions about their collective attitude.

"I only want positive players around me," he said. "I said that in the dressing room after the match.

"Those who are moping around, the subs who are not playing, are not playing because they're no good.

"If they're any good, I'd be picking them. I've had a good chat with the players -- a meeting. Miserable faces, I don't need them around me. I need people who are upbeat.

"There are not too many here but a few have miserable faces too often for some reason. If there are people who don't want to be here, as soon as the window opens we'll see if we can fix something up for them."

Redknapp did not mention names but he was evidently not satisfied with the performance of Djibril Cisse, who was substituted at half-time.



Problem

"I know what the problems are, but I don't want to say them publicly," said Redknapp. "You need to have everyone working as a team together. If one or two don't buy into it, you have a problem. Second half we worked much harder.

"You have to be realistic. Do you want to get beat 8-0 or go for damage limitation? We closed it up and got a bit of pride back second half."

The match, though, was settled long before half-time as Suarez scored twice in a breathtaking opening 16 minutes. The first, which saw him wrong-foot a statuesque Clint Hill then finish past Julio Cesar, was especially brilliant.

For his second, Suarez found space wide on the right and then pounced with clinical efficiency after his cross was half-cleared by Nedum Onuoha.

Suarez was scouted extensively while Redknapp was at Tottenham, only for the club to decide that he could not function sufficiently well as a lone striker.

With Suarez making a mockery of that assessment, Liverpool continued to dominate. Joe Allen and Steven Gerrard were impressive in central midfield while Jordan Henderson was also occasionally effective in breaking forward to support Suarez.

For all Liverpool's fluid football, the third goal was the result of a well-worked set-piece. Gerrard had drifted wide to the right for a corner. Daniel Agger headed his precise cross powerfully past Cesar.

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