Liverpool 2: Coutinho 19', Gerrard 87'
QPR 1: Fer 73'
The draw against West Brom and loss at Hull City ensured that the final four matches of Liverpool's season would be an exercise in going through the motions, and today mostly came good on that expectation. Brendan Rodgers' squad were better for most of the match and, as has been the case so often this season, had only themselves to blame for not being further in front by the time they conceded an equalizer. But as has been the case so often in his career, Steven Gerrard pops up with a late winner, giving Liverpool three points and a sentimental victory on a day that otherwise provided little in the way of meaning.
That it came on the heels of a missed penalty--his first since last season at Old Trafford, when he'd already converted two--seemed fitting for Liverpool's season, and a draw would have been keeping with recent results and performances. Mostly dominant, comfortable throughout, but left to rue lack of finishing and chances not taken, most notably during a five minute stretch in the second half that saw both Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling spurn wonderful opportunities.
So for Gerrard to get a late winner, just Liverpool's second from a corner in the Premier League all season, was a shock to the system, but it was also a roundly warm moment for the man who's given the club so much over the course of his career. His distress at having his penalty saved was clear, as was the relief and genuine emotion as he celebrated yet another winner in front of the Kop.
Sentiment for the captain aside, however, the day once again provided little in the way of lasting lessons, with a fair few involved, Gerrard included, that either won't be around next season or were deployed in a different position than they will likely play come the fall. It was possible to see something similar to today's formation working, though, just with different--or brand-new--faces in different places.
There were a string of performances ranging from average to impressive, with a few standing out on the negative end of things as well. Glen Johnson and Dejan Lovren were particularly poor at the back, while Raheem Sterling was energetic in attack but continues to struggle with the final ball. Gerrard and Jordan Henderson worked well off and on in the midfield, with Adam Lallana impressing for spells but, like Sterling, failing to get on the scoresheet when the chance presented itself. Rickie Lambert was limited as expected while piecing together some nice moments, including the cross-field pass for Coutinho's opener, and Jordon Ibe, who replaced Lallana was full of energy and forceful running.
Three matches now until season's end and a final farewell for the captain, and three matches to hopefully create enough forward momentum to enter the summer months with optimism and positivity rather than the doom and gloom created by a difficult few months.