Liverpool team to play QPR – would you pick this starting XI?

first_img1 Steven Gerrard is likely to return to the starting line-up as Liverpool look to keep their faint hopes of a top four spot alive when they play QPR at Anfield on Saturday.If Gerrard is to return to the midfield he would be playing his penultimate match at Anfield before his move to MLS side LA Galaxy.The talismanic midfielder was rested for the 1-0 loss at Hull on Tuesday; a defeat that dealt a huge blow to Liverpool’s Champions League hopes.A win for Brendan Rodgers’ side is a must if the Reds are going to have any hope of catching the top four and ending the season – and Gerrard’s Liverpool playing career – on a high.QPR’s aims could not be more different, with Chris Ramsey’s side suffering just one defeat in their last four league matches in pursuit of playing football in England’s top flight for another season.Some of Ramsey’s belief for this game may stem from QPR’s heroic effort against Liverpool this season when, despite losing 3-2, they came close to snatching a draw at Loftus Road.However, the Reds have lost just one of their last 11 top-flight matches at Anfield and will no doubt be determined to turn around their current form, which has seen them win just twice in their last six Premier League games. Midfielder Lucas is expected to be fit and would bring welcome solidity to the midfield.But Alberto Moreno, Mamadou Sakho and Mario Balotelli, who picked up an injury at Hull, will be absent for the game.Daniel Sturridge is set to travel back out to the United States for further assessments of a hip injury, while John Flanagan needs surgery on his knee.As a result, Rickie Lambert will be the only recognised first-team striker for Rodgers to chose from for the game, but will he start the ex-Southampton man?talkSPORT takes a look at the potential starting line-up.GoalkeeperSimon Mignolet will continue in goal for the Reds as he continues to try and answer all of his critics.His form has no doubt improved since being re-introduced to the side due to injury to Brad Jones.What will be interesting is if Rodgers decides to sign another goalkeeper in the summer to either take Mignolet’s place or put more pressure on the Belgian.DefenceDue to injuries, the back three pretty much picks itself, with Emre Can joining Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren as the three centre-backs.It will be surprising if Rodgers decides to persist with a back-four considering his side’s struggles with it on Tuesday and Liverpool’s overall record of wins when adopting a back-three approach.With Alberto Moreno absent, expect Glen Johnson to fill in the wing-back role on the left.Johnson is reportedly not signing a new deal with Liverpool, meaning this – along with Gerrard – could be his penultimate game at Anfield.The Englishman has made 195 appearances for the club since moving to Merseyside in 2009 and has been an honest performer for The Reds over the years.A player just starting his Liverpool career is Jordon Ibe, who has been described as a “very important” part of the squad by Rodgers.The pacey winger has made eight appearances since returning from loan at Derby in January and certainly hasn’t looked out of place in the Premier League side.MidfieldGerrard will potentially join Lucas and Jordan Henderson in a midfield  three and will hope that he can inspire Liverpool into a last push for a top four place.The Reds have missed the solidity of Lucas and the balance he can bring to the midfield in recent games.Interestingly, Liverpool have not won their last three games where he has not been in the side – a run that included the FA Cup semi-final loss to Aston Villa.Henderson has been ever present in that Liverpool midfield this season, but hasn’t scored in open play since his winner against Swansea seven games ago.In his 33 Premier League appearances for The Reds this season the English midfielder has just six goals and eight assists – a stat that he will want to improve on next campaign.AttackThe form of Philippe Coutinho has been Liverpool’s best story so far this season.The Brazilian was named in the PFA’s Premier League Team of the Year and is easily Liverpool’s most creative player.However, he has just four goals and four assists this campaign, a stat that is bettered by Henderson and Raheem Sterling.He, like Henderson, will be hoping to improve on these stats to prove his obvious talents, and at just 22-years-old has plenty of time to do so.Sterling, who has seven Premier League goals and seven assists this campaign, is likely to join him as the lone striker in attack.He looked like a player completely bereft of confidence in Liverpool’s 1-0 loss to Hull and perhaps needs a break from football to clear his head and make a decision on his future at the club.But for now, if The Reds are miraculously going to make it into the top four this season, they will need him to fire with more goals – especially with Sturridge potentially out for the season. Will Gerrard play his penultimate game at Anfield? last_img read more