Keeping QPR in the Premier League is Redknapp's biggest ever challenge… but will he make a dog's dinner of it
23:50 GMT, 30 December 2012
Troubling times: On the evidence of QPR's capitulation to Liverpool on Sunday, Harry Redknapp is facing the ultimate challenge to keep them in the top flight
Brendan Rodgers has been talking about getting the right ingredients in place to put on a decent meal for Liverpool’s fans.
At Loftus Road it was the turn of QPR’s supporters to discover what a dog’s dinner their team really is.
Harry Redknapp is convinced that three or four players are needed to save them from relegation, but the Rangers manager has undercooked it.
‘It could have been eight, like Aston Villa at Chelsea,’ he admitted. Next up for Rangers are Chelsea. After defeat against Liverpool, and the manner of it, the challenge to keep this club in the top flight is the biggest of Redknapp’s career. No question.
Bigger than the task to lead Tottenham into the Champions League when he accepted the call from Daniel Levy in October 2008.
Even bigger than Milan Mandaric’s mercy dash three years earlier, when Redknapp returned to Fratton Park to take over a Portsmouth team third from bottom of the Premier League. Then, as now, he promised big changes in the transfer window.
He shuffled the pack at Pompey, signing five players — Benjani, Pedro Mendes, Sean Davis, Noe Pamarot and Dean Kiely — in January 2006.
Incredibly they stayed up, finishing the season four points clear of danger.
Redknapp is still convinced QPR will remain in the Premier League, clearing the air with the players after another crisis meeting in the dressing room. He is sick of seeing some miserable faces moping around the place and is determined to lift the gloom before they travel to Chelsea on Wednesday. ‘One or two aren’t with me,’ he added, and it’s safe to say that Jose Bosingwa is one of them.
The 65,000 a week right back has had a diplomatic injury ever since he refused to be a substitute for Rangers’ first win of the season against Fulham on November 15.
Sure touch: Liverpool's Luis Suarez scored twice against QPR in the 3-0 win
‘I’ve told them if they want to leave they can come and see me first thing on Monday morning,’ he added, but finding clubs for players on inflated salaries will be a tough call.
In yesterday’s brutal post-match analysis he feared the worst, admitting that Rangers have been left short of quality all over the pitch.
To stay up they will need the presence of players like Bobby Zamora, back in training well ahead of schedule after a hip operation.
There will be a temptation to press gang the striker back into action after this woeful performance at Loftus Road. Zamora hasn’t played since late November and wasn’t expected to return to the Rangers team until February.
Suddenly there is a glimmer of hope that the big target man could be back before the end of January. Even then it is probably too late.
Too little, too late Injured striker Bobby Zamora has been limited to charity work lately, but he could return next month to help QPR's survival bid
They need him — and others — if they are to have any chance of overhauling teams like Reading, Southampton, Aston Villa and Wigan.
The transfer window opens tomorrow and the temptation for QPR chairman Tony Fernandes to risk it all will surely be too much.
West Ham midfielder Mo Diame, so destructive against Liverpool at Upton Park on December 9 before he went off injured, is an option. Diame is back in training with West Ham and Rangers are prepared to activate his 3.5m release clause if he is willing to move to west London.
Judging by Rangers’ 12th Premier League defeat it is almost inconceivable for any player with pedigree to consider moving to Loftus Road.
East to West Mohamed Diame could be moving across London if QPR activate the 3.5m release clause in his West Ham contract
They allowed Liverpool to look like world beaters, carved open by Luis Suarez in the opening half hour. Soon he will be joined up front by Daniel Sturridge, although Premier League rules will prevent him playing against Sunderland on January 2.
Instead the Chelsea striker will have to wait until Liverpool’s trip to Mansfield in the FA Cup on Sunday for his first start.
When he pulls on the red shirt, Sturridge will discover he has a team-mate who will put balls on a plate for him.
Unquestionably, something is cooking for Liverpool.