Liverpool Greatest XI vs QPR Greatest XI: Who Wins?

An abundance of slick passing and an array of legends on show but who would triumph in the greatest Xls of these two writers...
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An abundance of slick passing and an array of legends on show but who would triumph in a Liverpool v QPR greatest XI encounter?

Liverpool Greatest Xl by Owen Blackhurst

GK: Pepe Reina

Plays like a sweeper at times, has got better in the air, kicks off both feet, has a beautiful, perfectly smooth, round head and was the fastest keeper in our history to 100 clean sheets. Grob might have won more and Dudek danced us to victory in Istanbul, but neither touch Reina for sheer class. 9

RB: Rob Jones

If Rob Jones hadn’t had a back like a wet fence in Walton and a knee made of glass, that rat bag Gary Neville would have considerably less England caps. I loved watching ‘Chopsy’ Nicol as a kid, but it’s Jones for me. Could play on either side, knew how to defend with it, full of pace and great on the ball. That he retired at 27 made me weep. 7

CB: Alan Hansen

Although I could happily give him a right-hander for his vampiric performances on the MOTD sofa, Hansen was the first player I really, truly, loved. Couldn’t tackle or head but he was as continental as British defenders got in the 80s. The dictionary definition of ‘not a hair out of place,’ though I suspect he has been using creosote on it since 1977. 8

CB: Sami Hyppia

‘Oooohhh Sami Sami, Sami Sami Sami Hyyppppiiiaaaaaa…’ was the first song my stepson heard sung at Anfield for his first, and Hyppia’s last, game. Criminally underused by Rafa in his final season (who almost didn’t bring him on against Spurs that day, the t**) he memorably stepped in at the last minute for the sacking of Old Trafford and played like Beckenbauer. Should still be at the club. 8

LB: Jamie Carragher

Not his best position by a country mile, but there is no way I could leave Carra out. Has made more last ditch tackles than any footballer in the history of the game, deep thinker tactically and won’t stand for any bull. Anyone who has seen him, close up, bollocking Phillip Degen will agree. ‘Degen… DEGEN… DEEEEGGGEEEENNN you ******* ****, mark your man…” 8

RM: Steve McManaman

He might have looked like Rodney from Only Fools and Horses with a perm, but the ‘coltish’ (copyright Fleet Street, 1992) Macca breathed fresh air into our moribund midfield under Souness. Scorer of great goals – Celtic twice, Arsenal etc – our plan at corners when he played used to involve passing short to him and letting him dribble. What we’d give now for someone on the flanks who was as comfortable on the ball. 8

CM: Steven Gerrard

He might have the worst haircut in the history of football and he might, due to the Chelsea courtship, be difficult to like at times but christ can he play. Has dragged us out of the mire on so many occasions that his nickname should be ‘tractor’ rather than the rubbish Stevie G. People might scoff, but when he had the security of Alonso and Mascherano behind him there was no-one better in his position. 10

LM: John Barnes

You can keep your Barcelonas, your Milans and your Brazils, the team that Dalglish put together, featuring Beardsley and Barnes left such an indelible impression on a nine-year-old boy that whenever I’ve set a team up since, either coaching, on Fifa or Championship Manager, I play with two wide men and a number ten. Imagine what Barnes would cost in the modern game? Sid England and sod the fans who booed him, Barnes was a hero and was nearly as good in the middle of the park after his thigh injury. 9

CF: Kenny Dalglish

As much as I loved Beardsley, there is no way I could have him ahead of Kenny.  Technically perfect, not scared to put his head in, unparalleled with his back to goal and wearer of the most aesthetically pleasing number 7 shirt in history. Dalglish is to Liverpool what Maradona was to Napoli. And then some. 10

ST: Robbie Fowler

It was the 90s, the glory days had slipped away and we were all in a funk. Then a snotty nosed tyro with dynamite in his left-boot arrived and started ploughing goals in from everywhere. Still the fourth highest scorer in Premier League history with 163 goals (15 ahead of that turncoat Welshman Michael Owen) watching Fowler was joy unconfined. My favourite goal was when he Cruyff-nutmegged Steve Staunton at Villa Park and hit an exocet at the catflap. God indeed… 9

ST: Ian Rush

As devastating in the penalty box as anyone in the modern era, his work ethic was legendary. I was seven when he scored the iconic camera-toppling goal against Everton in the 1986 FA Cup final, and my four-year-old brother was so distressed when he left that he continued to call John Aldridge ‘Rushie’. 9

Manager: Kenny Dalglish

The only man I’ve fallen in love with, twice.

Liverpool Total: 105

It’s a good job Gerry was good at football because with a face like his he’d have to work underground.

QPR’s Greatest XI -

GK – David Seaman
Purists might argue the case for Reg Allen or Phil Parkes but all things considered it has to be Spunky, if for no other reason than he never sported that ridiculous ponytail while playing for the hoops. Began his England career while at Loftus Road and coped admirably with the plastic pitch. 9

LB – Ian Gillard
The first member (there’ll be a few) of the legendary 75/76 team in the list, Gillard made the left-back position his own between 1968 – 82 and was part of the cracking full-back partnership with Dave Clement. Solid, dependable and good in a skirmish. 7

CB – Alan McDonald
The Northern Irishman played over 400 games for the hoops and was part of the 1993 side that finished fifth in the Premier League (and unfortunately also the one that got relegated in 1996). A stopper rather than a ball-playing defender, he also got 52 caps for his country. 7

CB – Paul Parker
Despite having the passing range of a toaster, Parker was a good centre-half for QPR and quickly became popular due to his all-action style and the way he used his pace to make up for being shorter than an English summer. 8

RB – Dave Clement
A tragic tale. Made 472 appearances for QPR and played for England five times in 1976/77 and was a corking right-back who loved to get forward. Aged 34 after suffering a broken leg playing for Wimbledon, he became depressed at what he thought was the end of his career and poisoned himself with weedkiller. His son, Neil Clement, played nearly 300 games for West Brom. 8

RW – Dave Thomas

A classic winger full of pace and trickery, he should have received more than the 8 England caps that he got . Signed from Burnley for a then Second Division record of £165,000, he was one of the stats of the 75/76 side and when he was at Everton his assists helped Bob Latchford to 30 in a season. 9

CM – Gerry Francis
It’s a good job Gerry was good at football because with a face like his he’d have to work underground. Another player who won all of his England caps while at QPR (12, in 8 he was captain) and gets the armband. 9

CM – Stan Bowles
Stan might be a seven or even an eight over the course of his career but for QPR he was a ten, and not just because he happily accepted Marsh’s old Number 10 shirt on his arrival. Life chairman of the QPR Loyal Supporters Chairman and a maverick who told Jon Wilde that “I’d spliff up once in a while but that’s f*** all, innit? Everyone enjoys a spliff once in a while. Makes you nice and relaxed”. 10

LW – Trevor Sinclair
Close run thing here between Sinton and Trev on the left but despite Sinton scoring more goals for the club, Sinclair scored that overhead kick and anyone who can give you goosebumps deserves to be in. 7

CF – Rodney Marsh
It’s probably a good thing that him and Bowles never played in the same side but on a good day it would’ve been beautiful. Played all his best football in the hoops, scored 44 in 53 in his first season to help win the ‘double’ of Third Division and League Cup. Now tweets about his breakfast from Florida. 10

CF – Les Ferdinand
Notched over 20 goals in two separate seasons after being farmed out to Beskitas and Brentford and was the spearhead of Gerry Francis’ entertainers. He might have been forced out of Newcastle by Shearer’s ego but at QPR he is a legend. 9

Player – Manager – Gerry Francis
Made QPR a good Premier League side who played great football without an influx of millions. 9

QPR Total: 102

Liverpool 105 - QPR 102

A stylish encounter that’s easy on the eye is decided late-on by a typical poach from Fowler. Liverpool have the best of it throughout and dominate proceedings in the middle of the park with the Hoops crying out for a ball-winner. Gerrard is so spoilt for choice in possession he actually weeps with joy.

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