BARCLAYS Premier League survival now looks extremely unlikely for QPR, following a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool.
On an action-packed afternoon at Anfield, the hosts took the lead in the 19th minute through Philippe Coutinho.
Rangers rallied after the half-time interval and Leroy Fer gave the R’s hope of victory when he equalised 17 minutes from time.
But R's hopes were dashed late on - despite Steven Gerrard's 79th-minute penalty miss.
Nedum Onuoha was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 82nd minute, before Reds captain Gerrard atoned for his earlier spot-kick woe when he headed home the winning goal five minutes later.
Following other results in the Premier League today (Saturday), the Hoops are now seven points adrift of safety with just three fixtures left to play.
Bobby Zamora could only make the bench for Rangers owing to a long-term hip complaint.
That meant a recall for recent returnee Fer, the QPR midfielder now back in action following a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Liverpool were minus the services of both Daniel Sturridge (hip) and Mario Balotelli (foot) as they looked to bounce back from a midweek league defeat at Hull City – a result which put a huge dent in their hopes of Champions League football next term.
However, before kick-off – and at the other end of the table – Rangers knew they would still be in for a tough afternoon on Merseyside, with the hosts able to call upon the likes of Gerrard, Adam Lallana and former Hoop Raheem Sterling.
Rangers had only previously tasted victory once at Anfield in our history – a 3-1 win in March 1991. In all, Liverpool had won 19 of their 22 home league games against the R’s.
Going into this game, the home side had only lost one of their previous 11 league games at Anfield.
The odds, and history, certainly didn’t favour us, but you felt a result of sorts was needed to keep our hopes of beating the drop alive.
QPR were on the attack in the very first minute and had a goal chalked off inside 60 seconds.
Matt Phillips’ low corner from the right was spilled into the net by Simon Mignolet. However, one of the assistant officials signalled that the ball had already gone out of play – and referee Martin Atkinson pointed for a goal kick.
Rangers held their own in the early stages. Steven Caulker eventually flashed an effort just wide on the turn in the eighth minute, following a Phillips free-kick.
And two minutes later, Mignolet was forced into a fingertip save to stop a Fer blast, after Caulker’s knock-down.
Liverpool’s first effort came in the 13th minute. Gerrard drove from distance but his shot went well wide.
Three minutes later, Rickie Lambert was the benefactor of a misplaced Joey Barton pass before lashing straight at Rob Green.
The R’s started well but were behind come the 19th minute.
The visitors were caught on the hop and when Lambert broke to clip over a cross from the right, Coutinho took a touch in the box before curling home past Green.
That was harsh on Rangers, but the first half remained fairly even until half-time. In the 35th minute, Charlie Austin blasted just over from 20 yards.
Five minutes later, Green pulled off a smart save to deny Gerrard from a direct free-kick.
QPR made one change at the break. Yun Suk-Young was brought on in place of Caulker.
The first chance of the second half arrived in the 50th minute, and it came for Liverpool.
The home side won possession midway into the visiting half and when the ball was eventually worked to Lallana, he dragged a low shot just past the foot of the left-hand post.
The hosts missed an even-better opportunity in the 55th minute. Jordan Henderson crossed from the right and when his centre evaded everyone but Sterling at the back post, the England forward somehow diverted over from close range.
In the 64th minute, Green saved well from Lambert after a defensive mix-up from Rangers.
QPR enjoyed their first opportunity two minutes later when the ball broke to Phillips on 25 yards, but his deflected effort was caught by Mignolet.
But Liverpool went close again in the 68th minute. Gerrard shot from the edge of the box, and Green tipped the ball away at his bottom left-hand post.
From the resultant corner, Green was in action again – this time beating away a Dejan Lovren header.
The R’s levelled matters in the 73rd minute. Barton crossed over a corner from the right, and Fer smashed home on the half-volley.
Hope yet for QPR. Could they now go on to claim a desperately-needed win?
Well, it looked unlikely when Liverpool were awarded a penalty not long after – that after Onuoha was punished for a foul on Martin Skrtel.
However, when Gerrard stepped up to take the spot-kick in the 79th minute, Green pulled off a super save to keep the Hoops in it.
Rangers were reduced to 10 men in the 82nd minute. Onuoha was shown a second yellow card after a cynical challenge on substitute Jordan Ibe.
An action-packed finale was capped by a winning Liverpool goal in the 87th minute.
Home favourite Gerrard had the final say, rising to meet a Coutinho corner before heading in.