A much-needed win over West Brom prior to the international break cannot paper over the numerous cracks in the ghostly-looking Liverpool of 2014/15 compared to the swashbuckling class of ‘13/14.
While departures and arrivals keep being attributed with blame, Brendan Rodgers has no choice but to glue himself to the task in hand and pick his best side going forward, starting against bottom-placed QPR.
The Reds are 8/13 to take the spoils, though their fans will need scant reminding that Luis Suarez’s brace had a large part to play in their club’s last victory at Loftus Road two seasons ago.
Playing the role of Rodgers, here’s how we’d hang the shirts 1-11 in the dressing room for the clash:
Sadly, a lack of viable alternatives sees Simon Mignolet retain his place in goal, while Dejan Lovren is fast becoming the Reds’ pillar at the back despite only joining from Southampton in the summer.
Both Liverpool’s young Spanish full-backs have impressed meaning Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquillo also get the nod.
The final centre-back spot was a toss-up between long-serving Martin Skrtel and big-money signing Mamadou Sakho, but the Frenchman gets the nod because he must begin justifying the £18m price tag and offers balance being a left footer.
A fully-rested Steven Gerrard anchors the midfield, just behind his deputy Jordan Henderson who has more licence to support in attack.
It’s in front of this solid base that man-of-the-moment Adam Lallana takes centre-stage.
Praised by England manager Roy Hodgson for his performance against Estonia, the former Saint also signed off in style with a beautifully crafted goal versus the Baggies last time out for Liverpool.
His skill and invention will be key, and these are attributes that teammate Philippe Coutinho showed in abundance last season, meaning the little Brazilian should get another chance to impress in an interchangeable attack from the left.
Raheem Sterling will be delighted to be reunited with Daniel Sturridge who should finally be fit to lead the line again after six weeks out nursing an injury.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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