John Barnes announced his return to League football by setting up an 87th minute winner for Ronnie Rosenthal at Loftus Road.
The England star, out of action since the summer with a ruptured achilles tendon, secured a battling victory for Liverpool with one superb pass which sent the Israeli clear to shoot sweetly past Tony Roberts from an angle.
Barnes, injured in England's European Championship warm-up in Finland last June, came on for hamstring victim Ian Rush after 17 minutes, but that was the last thing Liverpool fans had to cheer for some time.
Without the injured Paul Stewart and Michael Thomas, they were rescued by two goal-line clearances, while Mike Hooper made tremendous saves from Les Ferdinand and Andy Sinton (twice) as Ferdinand threatened to tear them apart.
Barnes showed a flash of the old magic with a low cross that Mike Marsh just missed, then curled in a free-kick which Roberts saved comfortably. But those were isolated breaks.
But Graeme Souness had strong words with his team at the interval, and they came out determined not to be overrun again.
The warning signals were there for Rangers as McManaman had a goal disallowed for offside.
Ferdinand and Ian Holloway both had chances at the other end, but Jamie Redknapp should have given Liverpool the lead with a close-range volley which flew over.
In the 75th minute, Sinton saw his curling effort whizz a fraction wide of the far post.
But Barnes' influence had been steadily growing - and three minutes from time his superb angled pass set Rosenthal galloping for his fifth goal of the season.
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