English Premiership

Suarez steers Liverpool home

2011-12-10 19:38
Luis Suarez (File)

Liverpool - Luis Suarez put his Football Association charges to one side to inspire Liverpool to a 1-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers at Anfield on Saturday.

The Uruguay striker, who has requested a personal hearing over a racism charge involving Manchester United's Patrice Evra, is also in trouble for making an alleged obscene gesture at Fulham fans last Monday.

But Suarez responded on the pitch with his first league goal since October 1 as Kenny Dalglish's side won at home for the first time in nearly three months.

QPR had looked like frustrating the hosts on their first visit to Anfield for 16 years.

Yet Suarez's second-half header settled the game as Liverpool's charge for a top-four finish gathered momentum.

All eyes were on Suarez to see what the Premier League's latest pantomime villain would get up to at the end of a week that brought an improper conduct charge plus another call for greater protection from Dalglish.

But there were other concerns for the Liverpool manager.

The league's other promoted sides, Norwich and Swansea, had both emerged unbeaten from trips to Anfield and, with the hosts' midfield options dwindling by the week, QPR were looking to follow suit.

With Lucas Leiva and Steven Gerrard still injured and Jay Spearing suspended, Dalglish recalled Argentina's Maxi Rodriguez and Dutch international Dirk Kuyt to the starting line-up.

Having drawn their previous four home games, Liverpool were desperate for an early breakthrough goal to ease nerves.

Yet despite creating a flurry of chances, it looked like being another frustrating afternoon as their inability to turn first-half pressure into goals once again threatened to cost them dear.

Rodriguez had a goal-bound effort blocked as early as the third minute while Suarez headed tamely at keeper Radek Cerny from close range after Stewart Downing's cross from the right.

Suarez's long sequence without a league goal prompted suggestions the racism charge hanging over him since United's visit eight weeks ago had affected his game.

His 15th-minute miss, after being teed-up by Rodriguez, appeared to add more fuel to the theory.

Instead it was the busy Rodriguez who forced Cerny into the best save of the first-half after Kuyt's 31st minute pass had split the QPR defence wide open.

Cerny spread himself well to prevent the goal, but Liverpool did not test the Czech Republic keeper enough despite spending most of the first-half camped in the Rangers half.

Liverpool were lacking a creative spark yet two minutes into the second-half they got the goal they craved.

A poor corner by Charlie Adam, who was celebrating his 26th birthday, was headed back into the path of the Scotland international.

This time he produced a delightful right-footed return into the penalty area which allowed Suarez to head home unmarked from the edge of the six-yard area.

After the most testing of weeks, Suarez's wild celebrations in front of the Kop were understandable.

Suddenly, Suarez was at his probing, teasing best. Rodriguez should have doubled the lead in the 61st minute after being set up by Suarez but his close range shot was blocked.

And Cerny produced a fine stop to deny Rodriguez in the 68th minute as Liverpool upped the tempo towards the end.

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