Liverpool, Luis Suarez Race Past Queens Park Rangers, Build for 2013

Michael Cummings@MikeCummings37World Football Lead WriterDecember 30, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 30:  Martin Skrtel of Liverpool controls the ball as Djibril Cisse of QPR closes in during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Liverpool at Loftus Road on December 30, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Somewhere near the end of Liverpool’s blistering first-half performance at Queens Park Rangers’ Loftus Road on Sunday evening, television commentator Martin Tyler posed perhaps the only question left for the Reds to answer.

Why, oh why, weren’t Brendan Rodgers’ Reds wearing, well, red?

Small potatoes, really. Liverpool—and especially Luis Suarez—left no doubt about the rest in a satisfying and simple 3-0 rout of struggling QPR on Sunday in the Barclays Premier League.

Tyler was confused by Liverpool's decision to wear gray and black instead of their normal red. The latter would not have clashed with QPR's home kit, but by halftime, the confusion had been replaced with a sense of forward momentum for Rodgers' non-red Reds.

Suarez schooled Clint Hill before finishing at the far post in the 10th minute for Liverpool's first. He doubled the lead six minutes later, and Daniel Agger made it three with 26 minutes gone. By then, the match was done, and the only questions that remained had to do with fashion choices and potential hat-tricks.

Victory keeps Liverpool in ninth, five points behind fifth-placed Arsenal. QPR remain rooted to the foot of the table with 10 points, eight clear of safety. While those facts would seem to make Sunday's match somewhat less than meaningful in the Premier League narrative this season, Suarez's sterling performance and Liverpool's recent history mean this one is worthy of further discussion.

Halfway through Rodgers' first year as Liverpool's manager, conclusions are beginning to form. The squad remains small and flawed, and difficult work remains to be done, but based on the entire body of evidence from the campaign's first half, Liverpool are moving forward.

Above all others, Liverpool have Suarez to thank for that.

The Uruguayan's brace brought him level with Newcastle's Demba Ba with 13 goals in the league this season, one behind Manchester United's Robin van Persie. Suarez has not just scored loads of goals; he has scored valuable goals.

Much has been made of the position in which Liverpool might find themselves without Suarez's contribution, but it bears repeating: If not for the tricky South American, Liverpool might have been contesting a relegation six-pointer with QPR on Sunday.

Instead, Suarez again showed that he is Liverpool's offense at the moment. For a manager with few attacking options at his disposal, Rodgers could do much worse.

QPR, meanwhile, remain an enigma. Talent flows throughout the squad, from Adel Taarabt up top all the way to Julio Cesar in goal. The arrival of Harry Redknapp brought a brief uptick in results, but after another defeat, Rangers lie eight points adrift of safety.

Near the end of last season, QPR fell behind Liverpool by two goals at home in a league match. They won that day, producing an epic comeback—or an awful Liverpool collapse—that fueled Mark Hughes' escape act and led to Kenny Dalglish's second departure from Anfield.

This time, Rangers looked like doing nothing of the sort. Tellingly, neither did Liverpool.

Redknapp could yet produce an escape. Time is short, however, even with almost half a season left.

And for Liverpool and Suarez, the second half might just turn into something worth remembering.