Lucky Liverpool win after dramatic finish
LIVERPOOL (AP): Liverpool profited from an own goal in the fifth minute of injury time to escape with a 3-2 win over Queens Park Rangers (QPR) yesterday after one of the most chaotic finishes to an English Premier League game.
Four goals were scored in a pulsating final eight minutes at Loftus Road - the last unwittingly netted by Steven Caulker, who turned the ball into his own goal to gift Liverpool to a fortunate victory.
A madcap finale began in the 67th minute when QPR defender Richard Dunne put Liverpool 1-0 ahead with his record-extending 10th own goal in the Premier League.
Liverpool's second straight win left QPR in last place and increased the pressure on their manager, Harry Redknapp.
Stoke came from behind to beat Swansea 2-1 in the other game, with Jonathan Walters heading in a 76th-minute winner.
Liverpool climbed to fifth in the standings after an error-strewn display that heightened the concerns about their brittle defence, particularly with back-to-back games against Real Madrid coming up in the Champions League.
"We're coming up over the next fortnight against the best team in Europe, and we have to defend better than that," said Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who admitted being in a "state of shock" after the crazy finish to the match.
After 28 goals in seven games on Saturday, including an 8-0 win for Southampton and a four-goal haul for Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, there's still time for more drama in an incident-packed eighth round of the Premier League when Manchester United visit West Bromwich Albion today.
The frantic nature of the closing stages may spare Mario Balotelli from criticism after another below-par display from the Italy striker, capped by a dreadful miss from about seven yards out in front of an empty goal in the 61st.
Balotelli's performance contrasted with that of Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling, who has been the subject of headlines in the British media this week for telling England manager Roy Hodgson that he was too tired to play an international game last weekend.
Sterling was ubiquitous against QPR, with his foraging runs upfield in injury time helping set up Philippe Coutinho's goal that made it 2-1 and then Caulker's match-clinching intervention. Sterling was also instrumental in the opening goal by playing a quick free kick to Johnson, whose cross was deflected in by Dunne.
"It was great courage and cleverness from him today," Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said of Sterling.
Chile forward Eduardo Vargas equalised twice for QPR, first in the 87th minute with his first Premier League goal and again in the second minute of stoppage time with a header from a corner.
QPR are bottom on goal difference, but Redknapp is defiant about his future at the club.
"I can't do any more, and there isn't anyone (who) could do any better here at the moment than me, I don't think," Redknapp said.
At Britannia Stadium, Swansea striker Wilfried Bony and Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam scored first-half penalties, before Walters earned the hosts back-to-back wins with a powerful header from Oussama Assaidi's cross.