Until Steven Gerrard added another vital goal to his collection with only a few minutes of this contest remaining, the people behind the banner that was flown over Anfield six times before kick-off were probably feeling more than justified.
This was looking dangerously like another crushing result for Brendan Rodgers, and while the reinstatement of Rafa Benitez seemed rather ambitious the pressure certainly seemed to be increasing on Liverpool’s manager.
In the end Gerrard came to his rescue, meeting a Philippe Coutinho corner with a marvellous header in the 87th minute to punish QPR for the fact that they had just been reduced to 10 men following a second yellow card for Nedum Onuoha.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard (third right) heads in the winner two minutes from full time against Queens Park Rangers
Gerrard had a penalty palmed away by QPR goalkeeper Robert Green in the 80th minute at Anfield
Gerrard (left) is commiserated by team-mate Martin Skrtel after missing a penalty with the scores level
But seven minutes after missing the spot kick, Gerrard was celebrating another winning goal for Liverpool at Anfield
Philippe Couinho curls Liverpool into the lead in the 19th minute against Queens Park Rangers at Anfield on Saturday
But my did they make hard work of it, with Gerrard missing a late penalty prior to scoring the winner and Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana also guilty of some glaring misses.
It should have been far more straightforward in fairness. After Coutinho had opened the scoring in the 19th minute Liverpool dominated a QPR side now in serious danger of relegation. But confidence after just two wins from six Premier League games appeared to be low, not least in front of goal in the absence of the injured Daniel Sturridge.
To Leroy Fer’s equaliser they appeared to have no answer. Until, that is, Gerrard offered Rodgers some welcome respite.
For Chris Ramsey and his QPR side, however, the future is looking more bleak, with the gap that divides them from safety now seven points with only three games remaining. And that run-in begins with a trip to Manchester City; a game they must not lose to have any hope of staying up.
It must have been a difficult day for a QPR side mourning the loss of a team-mate’s wife. Fittingly both sides wore black armbands as a mark of respect, as did Les Ferdinand in the directors box.
But QPR started this game with real intent, with both Steven Caulker and Fer forcing saves from Simon Mignolet after it seemed Fer had actually scored from an early Matt Phillips corner. A corner, it transpired, that had actually drifted out of play.
But after that early promise for a QPR side boasting Karl Henry as a left-winger, Liverpool began to find a bit of impetus. Gerrard unleashed a shot from distance, as did Rickie Lambert.
A tackle by Sandro on Henderson that earned the Brazilian a booking was a measure of QPR’s frustration. They were in trouble here and they knew it only too well thanks to Leicester’s win against Newcastle earlier in the afternoon.
Ramsey lost Caulker to what appeared to be a serious injury at half-time – a broken hand reportedly – and the disruption created more problems for the visitors, their fragility something that should have been punished by Lallana shortly after the restart. Coutinho invited the England winger to score, but he pushed his shot wide.
Sterling would be guilty of an even more glaring miss minutes later; a miss that would prove all the more costly when an unmarked Fer met a Joey Barton corner with a fine volley in the 74th minute.
Raheem Sterling reacts after missing a golden chance to double Liverpool’s lead from close range in the second half
A plane was flown over Anfield before kick-off with a banner saying Brendan Rodgers should be replaced by Rafael Benitez as manager
Liverpool manager Rodgers instructs his players in the first half of the Premier League encounter against QPR
Adam Lallana, back in the Liverpool side after injury, is sent tumbling by QPR midfield player Fer
Liverpool captain Gerrard (right) almost got on the scoresheet with a free kick in the first half at Anfield
Gerrard reacts after seeing QPR goalkeeper Robert Green save his free-kick in the first half
When Onuoha pulled down Skrtel at a corner, Gerrard had the opportunity to score from the penalty spot. But the penalty was poor and Green made the save.
Onuoha did not learn from his earlier mistake, however, earning a second booking for a foul on Sterling.
And against a side now reduced to 10 men, the ultimate punishment came in the form of Gerrard’s 87th minute header.
Gerrard was shown a yellow card in the first half after the Liverpool captain was adjudged to have fouled QPR man Fer
Liverpool vice-captain Henderson (left) challenges Steven Caulker, who was taken off at half-time with a suspected broken hand
Liverpool attacker Sterling (left) is tackled by QPR midfielder Sandro in the encounter at Anfield
Sterling clashes with QPR goalkeeper Green, who kept Liverpool at bay for large periods of the game
QPR striker Charlie Austin (left) takes on Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren in the Premier League game at Anfield
QPR head coach Chris Ramsey looks on as he attempts to guide his team to Premier League safety
Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel controls the ball under pressure from QPR midfield player Fer
Coutinho (second left) celebrates with Jordan Henderson (second right), Lambert (right) and Adam Lallana (left)
Coutinho (left) celebrates his goal with the Liverpool supporters as his team-mates gather behind him at Anfield
Leroy Fer (left) lashed QPR level at Anfield in the second half, punishing Liverpool for a series of missed chances
Fer runs over to celebrate his goal, while paying tribute to team-mate Rio Ferdinand
The switch in momentum proved significant, Coutinho opening the scoring with what was a super goal in the 19th minute; a goal, scored on a counter-attack ignited initially by Sterling, that owed as much to the quality of Lambert’s ball as Coutinho’s finish.
After taking a touch, Coutinho picked his spot perfectly to curl the ball beyond Robert Green, but it was some pass across the QPR penalty area from Lambert in the first place.
A Sterling cross that appeared to strike Clint Hill on the arm had Liverpool calling for a penalty minutes later but referee Martin Atkinson thought otherwise.
A rather hopeful effort from Charlie Austin aside, QPR were offered little in response. Liverpool were dominating this game, with Henderson, Coutinho and Gerrard comfortably controlling midfield. A free-kick from Liverpool’s captain would test Green, the former England goalkeeper making an excellent save.