Liverpool Focus – Reds end 2012 on a high

Liverpool waved 2012 away in style with a comfortable 3-0 win over struggling Queens Park Rangers on Sunday afternoon. The Merseysiders, who were missing manager Brendan Rodgers through illness, were once again thankful to their Uruguayan wizard Luis Suarez for putting the team 2-0 up within the space of just 16 minutes, before prized defender Daniel Agger sealed the victory with an excellent header.

Reds’ assistant manager Colin Pascoe hailed the visitors’ performance and was particularly impressed with the first-half display, which blew away Harry Redknapp’s relegation-threatened side. Skipper Steven Gerrard also suggested that Liverpool played some of their best football this season during that first-half show. The result means that the Anfield outfit have won four of the six Premier League they played in December, but a generally inconsistent season up to this point means that Gerrard and co are eight points behind fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur in the table.

Supporters will be hoping that the Reds can start the new year as they mean to continue – with another win – when Sunderland arrive at Anfield on Wednesday, but Liverpool have failed to overcome the Black Cats in their last two meetings at home in the top-flight. The fixture against Martin O’Neill’s side will be seen as one that Liverpool could really do with winning, given that three of the Reds’ four league fixtures after that clash are away games at Old Trafford, the Emirates Stadium and the Etihad Stadium. A good run of results over the next five weeks would enhance Liverpool’s chances of securing that coveted Champions League spot.

Fortunately for the Anfield outfit, the January transfer window is now open and current Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge looks set to seal his switch to Anfield imminently. There are suggestions that Blackpool winger Thomas Ince, who was previously on Liverpool’s books before his move to Bloomfield Road, could also return to the club early on during the window, while the Reds are still reportedly one of a number of clubs who are chasing Newcastle’s Demba Ba. Should Liverpool manage to tie up their transfer deals quickly, particularly in terms of adding attack-minded players to the squad, then that could give them a boost heading into a tough set of fixtures.

Meanwhile, midfielder Joe Cole looks set to leave Rodgers’ side in January. The former Chelsea star, who was signed on a lucrative contract while Roy Hodgson was at the club, has failed to make an impact at Anfield. Liverpool’s most recent opponents, QPR, may prove to be Cole’s destination, with media reports indicating that the Hoops’ new manager Redknapp is a long-term admirer of the midfielder. Whether the potential move is a temporary or permanent one remains to be seen, though seeing Cole removed from the wage bill could allow Rodgers to bring in a cost-effective alternative.

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