In all relegation battles, and in particular dramatic escapes from the drop, there is so often one match that became the catalyst. The match that sparked belief in the players that they could well stay in the Premier League. For Fulham, for example, this came in a dramatic 3-2 victory away to Manchester City when at half time, at 2-0 down, they were relegated if it stayed the same.
Although QPR were not in quite such dire straits on this day in 2012, they were many people's tip for a return to the Championship and were in need of a similar spark so that they could have something to cling on to. They were without a win in two months and were up against a Liverpool team, themselves struggling, who on paper looked like good opposition to play at this time of the season.
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At this stage of the season it is quite unlikely that a manager has a full lineup to choose from, but the then QPR boss Mark Hughes had exactly this. January signing Samba Diakite was back for only his second appearance having been sent off on his debut, while Djibril Cisse and Bobby Zamora started up front in what looked as though it should have been a dangerous strike partnership.
For Liverpool, Kenny Dalglish had so far not proven to be the saviour that the Reds fans had hoped for. They already looked unlikely to improve enough to achieve a top-four position, while a defeat here would leave them level on games once more but still 12 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur. Liverpool were the favourites going into the game at Loftus Road, but with both teams desperate for a win it really could have gone either way.
The first half was poor with very little reason to believe that there would be five goals after the break. The Reds were comfortably the better team in the opening 45, however, even if they did not test Paddy Kenny enough. The QPR goalkeeper was busy and made a few key saves, particularly from a Dirk Kuyt effort at the far post from a Steven Gerrard corner, but on several occasion he should not have been given a chance. At 0-0 at the break it was going reasonably for QPR, but that was about to change.
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Many times by this point in the 2011-12 season had Liverpool been made to rue missed chances and going in level it looked as though the same might happen here. Even more so when QPR began to take control of the game. It was not until the second half that Reds stopper Pepe Reina was tested for the first time, but there may have been little he could have done about Cisse's fizzing effort just wide.
Then came what looked as though it could have been a killer blow to QPR's survival chances. Zamora partially cleared a Stewart Downing shot into the air and, with time standing still, Sebastian Coates - in acres of space - lined up an acrobatic scissor-kick volley that flew into the roof of the net. It was a game that needed a moment of brilliance or a mistake, and it was the former.
Of course, there were plenty of mistakes still to come. Luis Suarez hit a post shortly after for what seemed like the 100th time that season for Reds fans, but this time it ended well for them with Kuyt arriving quickest to the rebound to poke in. QPR, 18th and 2-0 down at home, looked doomed at this point. However, they were about to achieve the most remarkable of comebacks, starting with just 13 minutes left to play.
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Shaun Derry headed in a 77th-minute effort that sparked some of the home fans back into life, although the expectations remained low. Perhaps they could salvage a point? The Liverpool marking was slack again in the 86th minute, which allowed Cisse in to level in front of an erupting Loftus Road. Then Jose Enrique left the worst until last as he totally miscued a clearance to allow substitute Jamie Mackie to seize an unlikely three points with a last-minute effort. QPR were out of the relegation zone and they had hope.