QPR 3 Liverpool 2
Jamie Mackie netted an injury-time winner as QPR boosted their survival hopes by staging an incredible late comeback at Loftus Road.
Sebastian Coates’ spectacular scissor-kick and Dirk Kuyt’s tap-in seemed to have condemned them to another defeat.
But three goals in the final 14 minutes left Liverpool stunned and gave Rangers only their second league victory under manager Mark Hughes.
Shaun Derry headed in Adel Taarabt’s corner before substitute Taye Taiwo crossed from the left for Djibril Cisse to head home an 86th-minute equaliser against his former club.
And Mackie – on as a substitute for Joey Barton, who was booed off – raced on to Luke Young’s header and smashed past keeper Jose Reina to send the home fans wild with delight.
It was the most unlikely of recoveries given that Rangers were second-best for much of the game.
Liverpool were all over them for most of the first half and an error by Nedum Onuoha presented the Merseysiders with an early chance to go ahead.
Luis Suarez found himself through on goal after Onuoha missed the ball, but the striker was denied by a smart save from keeper Paddy Kenny.
Having struggled to venture out of their own half, Rangers almost equalised in bizarre circumstances.
In attempting to volley away Armand Traore’s left-wing cross, Liverpool defender Jose Enrique belted the ball behind him and inches over his own bar.
That at least offered Hughes’ side some encouragement and they ended the half strongly, with Cisse shooting narrowly wide from 25 yards.
But they were unable to maintain that momentum and went behind nine minutes after the restart, when Bobby Zamora’s goal-line clearance to deny Kuyt was met by a blistering 15-yard volley from Coates.
QPR rallied after Mackie was brought on to replace the dismal Barton, but any prospect of a comeback appeared to have been extinguished when Liverpool doubled their lead.
Suarez turned away from Onuoha and fired against the post and although Kenny was able to keep out Stewart Downing’s follow-up, he was powerless to prevent Kuyt tapping in the loose ball.
The failure of Rangers’ expensive transfer policy has probably been best summed up by the stirring performances of stalwarts Clint Hill, Mackie and Derry this season.
And it was Derry, who worked tirelessly throughout, that gave them hope when he got his first goal for the club.
Rangers thought they had hit the jackpot when Cisse then levelled, but they ended up with all three points after Enrique failed to clear his lines and Mackie nipped in to score.