Liverpool close out 2012 with a walk in the park.
Normally you reserve your walk in the park for New Year's Day. It's a great way to welcome in the new calendar and let go of what went on before, as well as sort of work out the hangover. But Liverpool got theirs today, and I don't think anyone's going to complain.
There's not much to learn from games like these, because QPR were beyond awful and we're the embodiment of a hanging curveball waiting to be deposited in the upper deck. They look full value to be rooted to the bottom of the table and probably will stay there. And when they do, it of course won't be Harry Redknapp's fault. Because it never is.
But hey, Liverpool haven't always been able to take the gifts that were offered to them. It won't wash out the taste of Stoke, nor signal a shift in fortunes. But it's a win, and now 2012 is over. These are two good things. So let's be happy with that.
-It was only a matter of time before Luis Suarez took advantage of defenders guarding heavily against getting nutmegged and went outside or inside of them. That's what the first goal was, a simple shift around instead of through Hill. Why there was no one to cover behind is a question you can send to Ol' Harry that he won't answer, but the finish was still exquisite.
-Jordan Henderson was very active, and frees up Gerrard a little better than Shelvey has recently. While he didn't do much to stir the imagination, it's always a solid policy to just give Suarez the ball every chance. Simply through activity does Hendo make the midfield look a little better.
-12 hours later it's still hard to fathom how bad QPR were and are.
-The one complaint I'll register is the sub of Henderson for Lucas. The Brazilian needed a full day off, and Gerrard could have used the breather instead. Seems like a minor complaint, and they'll both probably get a full 10 days after the Sunderland match, but still. At least I can't imagine any of them will be needed for Mansfield.
-It's hard to judge any player against a side like QPR, but again Gerrard just seems better when healthily bracketed by players who can do some of his running for him. It' was fine against Fulham when Lucas was springy and Shelvey omnipresent, not so much with Lucas dragging and Jonathan Joseph nowhere as against Stoke. Today, with Allen and Henderson buzzing, he had a fine match.
-You'd like to see Liverpool run up the score on these because you don't know if goal-difference is going to matter at the end of the season. But with the glut of fixtures and legs in the condition they are, merely getting through the second half was understandable.
-Enrique's injury is a worry, because no one wants to see Downing back there against opposition that matters and Andre Wisdom is apparently drinking with Harvey The Rabbit. Might not matter until the trip to Old Trafford, but it's a worry. Three at the back again?
-Ok, one more slap at Harry because I can't resist. I'm sure after a performance like this he'll just throw his hands up and charge everyone withfeeling sorry for him because of what he's been left with. But it's one thing when you have no talent, and quite another when your team doesn't bother or care. That has to be on him, right? He's supposed to at least make his players care?
-If I don't see Joe Allen attempt another left-footed volley this season, I'll be happy.
So that's it for 2012, thank god. If nothing else, we can look for new players to discuss soon, and hope for signs of progress at the very least in 2013. One more winnable fixture approaching, but have any of them been easily done after a win for Liverpool?