Rangers red-hot

Les Ferdinand, back from a three match suspension, handed out a halloween night shock with a late QPR winner which provided Liverpool with only their second defeat in 10 games.

Ferdinand struck five minutes from time, springing Liverpool's off-side trap to steer Clive Wilson's long ball beyond goalkeeper David James.

The Mighty Reds looked certain to clinch the win after John Barnes crashed a marvellous equaliser to Trevor Sinclair's 29th minute opener for Rangers.

Sinclair despatched an unmarked header just before the half-hour to rock Liverpool back on their heels just as they were beginning to take a strong grip on the game.

They strung together a red necklace of precision passes to probe at the Rangers defence but a long ball on the line led to their undoing.

David Bardsley fell in and crossed into the box where Liverpool's three essential defenders all left the job of marking Sinclair to each other and he gratefully used the space to head powerfully home.

Both defences creaked alarmingly in a match that started 18 minutes late but soon developed into a thriller.

Phil Babb had a nightmare first half for Liverpool, twice blundering to let in Kevin Gallen, who fired the first chance over and set up the second for Ferdinand, who squeezed his shot just wide.

Three minutes after Sinclair's goal, Neil Ruddock had to clear off Liverpool's line to prevent Ferdinand scoring.

And Liverpool's uncertainty in defence spread to goalkeeper James, who fumbled a long shot by Simon Barker and then flapped wildly at Bardsley's cross before Sinclair shot just wide.

Liverpool, however, began to take control again in the second half and Rangers had a narrow escape when they allowed Barnes to float into space and send a thunderous 30 yard drive against the crossbar in the 39th minute.

Barnes had been driven back deep in his own half by the hustling of Rangers' new midfielder Steve Hodge but when he was allowed to find room the England star was a real menace. And in the 56th minute he beautifully put away the equaliser after his sharp one-two with Rush.

Liverpool then abandoned their three man central defence, calling off Babb and sending on Jan Molby in an orthodox 4-4-2 formation designed to push on for victory.

The elusive Steve McManaman went agonisingly close to snatching the winner but, just when Rangers looked happy to collect a point, Ferdinand gave them an incredible bonus to punish more slap-dash work in the Liverpool defence.

Copyright - British Soccer Week

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