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Football | Barclays Premier League

Liverpool aim to take cup form into EPL

Liverpool may be enjoying plenty of cup success but the trip to QPR offers the chance for them to get their Premier League campaign back on track.

The Reds won through to the FA Cup semifinal, where they will meet either Everton or Sunderland, with a 2-1 win over Stoke on Sunday.

Kenny Dalglish's team have already won their first trophy in six years, by beating Championship side Cardiff on penalties in the League Cup final.

That undoubted progress has not been matched in the league where they sit seventh in the table, 10 points behind fourth-placed Arsenal and just three ahead of newly-promoted Swansea.

While their indifferent home form has attracted plenty of criticism, they have also struggled away from Anfield.

Their tally of six victories is more than they have managed in front of their own fans but, as well as just one draw, they have suffered seven defeats.

The Anfield club have already spent two years outside the Champions League and finishing outside the top four for a third straight year would do significant harm to their prestige, as well as income.

QPR need the points for different reasons, as they look to get out of the relegation zone, and Jay Spearing expects Mark Hughes' men to offer stiff resistance.

The game at Loftus Road is the start of a run of five successive Premier League games.

And Liverpool midfielder Spearing, 23, is also adamant that the Reds' Cup success can not result in them coasting in the league.

"It (Loftus Road) is not a nice place to go. It can be a hostile atmosphere and we've got to go and show we can play our football, get three points and start climbing up that table.

"It's every player's dream to go and play at Wembley and it will be extra special if it's an all-Merseyside semifinal.

"We've got all the confidence to go there and try and get through to the final. We've got a big game on Wednesday which we'll need to compete in and get three points, but when it (the semifinal) comes about we'll be looking forward to it."

Striker Suarez and defender Martin Kelly both limped out of the win over Stoke and are likely to be doubtful for the trip to London.

Danish centre-back Daniel Agger is still out with a rib injury, Glen Johnson is still struggling with a hamstring problem and Craig Bellamy has also missed the last two games through injury, while Lucas will not play again this season.

The Reds ended a three-match losing run in the league with a 3-0 victory over Everton last week but their problems would be welcomed by Hughes, who has failed to pull Rangers out of trouble despite investing heavily in January.

Hughes' team have picked up just two points from their last six games and face one of the toughest run-ins of the bottom five teams, including games against Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City.

"It's not going to be easy, make no bones about it, it's a difficult run-in," said Hughes.

"Maybe, bizarrely, the pressure is off somewhat going into those games.

"The expectation will be that we're the underdogs and not expected to win.

"We can use that as a positive and hopefully fain from that. If we perform to our maximum, certainly in our home games, we can take on anybody."

Hughes could be without as many as seven players, including Adel Tarrabt, Fitz Hall and Heidar Helguson for Liverpool's visit.


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