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Dec 31, 2012

'Magician' Suarez devastates QPR

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has labelled Luis Suarez a "magician" after the striker scored a brace in Sunday's 3-0 win over QPR at Loftus Road.

• Enrique suffers hamstring injury

Suarez, 25, wreaked havoc through the Rangers defence, taking just ten minutes to get on the board when he easily evaded Clint Hill.

The Uruguay international netted his second just minutes later, taking his season tally to 13 goals from 19 games.

Suarez has already eclipsed his total of 11 strikes from the last campaign and Gerrard joked that opposition clubs should be fortunate they only have to face the striker twice each year.

"He's been brilliant for us since he came to the club - week in, week out he shows what a top player he is," he said. "These players have only got to play against him twice a year, we've got to train with him every day - he's a magician."

Daniel Agger's 27th minute header effectively sealed the three points for Liverpool before the break, although Gerrard commended the home side for controlling the Reds in the second-half.

"I wouldn't say it was easy - that would be disrespectful to QPR," he said. "But they're having a tough time at the moment and we knew if we started well, we could quieten this crowd and then our football would take over. It's probably the best first half we've played this season.

"We wanted more goals, that was the plan at half-time. But Harry Redknapp is a top manager - he was not going to not change things.

"He changed to three at the back, credit to him and we found it harder to get through. We played well today, we deserved the three points."

Liverpool were left without Brendan Rodgers after illness affected some of the club's players and staff, with Gerrard claiming his presence was missed.

"It was tough, there's a gap there. You can tell when Brendan is not there. He has been fantastic since he came in, he's been brilliant for the players," he said. "When we knew he wasn't coming today, it was important that we got the three points for him. I'm sure he's getting looked after at home and he'll be happy with the lads today."

Rodgers' assistant Colin Pascoe, who also fell ill, and coach Mike Marsh took charge from the sideline, although the Northern Irishman still had a heavily influence on the game.

"This morning he phoned me at eight o'clock,'' Pascoe said. "I wasn't feeling very well myself this morning, but he's worse than me. He was very, very white and he woke up not very well. The way the medical team and the doctors tried to isolate the players and the staff, they've been fantastic.

"Hopefully they'll have nipped it in the bud and not too many will be affected by it. Brendan picked the team. All the preparation for the game was all done. The presentations that we do to the players, that was all set for today's game. But unfortunately Brendan woke up and wasn't very well."

Liverpool will be hoping to have Rodgers back for the visit of Sunderland on January 2, while good news in regards to the injury Jose Enrique picked up in the second half would not go amiss.

"Unfortunately, it looks as if he's got a little tear in his hamstring,'' Pascoe said. "He was terrific today, absolutely superb, and he's been a joy to watch in the last few months, so hopefully he's not out for too long. I am not allowed in the changing room so I am not allowed to assess anything.''

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