Liverpool (3) – QPR (2) – ‘Ferdinand had to be restrained by Players from both Sides’

FA Carling Premiership

Team: Stejskal, Bardsley, Wilson, Impey, Barker, Wilkins, Peacock, Allen (B), Meaker, (Penrice), Ready, Ferdinand

Attendance: 24,561

Rangers travelled to Anfield on 8th December 1993 following a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa at Loftus Road four days earlier. Colin Wood filed his match report the next morning:

‘Liverpool completed a dramatic victory over nine men at Anfield last night with a late penalty from Jan Molby against a Queen’s Park Rangers side who had Simon Barker and Les Ferdinand ordered off.

John Barnes and Ian Rush had cancelled out a Ferdinand goal before Barker made it 2-2 a minute after the interval.

Barnes had equalised after 25 minutes and Rush shot his side in front seven minutes later. Les Ferdinand had quickly added to Liverpool’s problems on his return to action after an ankle injury, cashing in on a Bruce Grobbelaar mistake to shoot Rangers ahead after ten minutes.

Grobbelaar had one of his goalkeeping aberrations when he kicked out from a Steve Harkness back-pass and sent the ball straight to Ferdinand. The powerful Ferdinand still had a bit to do – and he did it with pace, power and precision to record his 11th goal of the season.

But after 25 minutes, John Barnes put Liverpool level with his first goal since his comeback.

Ferdinand was booked by referee Vic Callow before the restart for dissent.

Seven minutes later, Steve McManaman again caused the damage as he moved in from the right. He put the ball across, low, into the danger area, Rush took it with his back to goal, turned and hit it with his right-foot.

It was not a hard shot and Jan Stejskal appeared to save it, but the ball dropped back behind him into the net.

The wild weather and the closure earlier in the evening of one of the Mersey tunnels for safety reasons contributed to the small attendance.

There was also a fear at one point that the referee would not arrive in time. He was delayed on his journey North from Solihull by an accident on the M6 and an emergency call went out from the local County FA for a deputy official.

Liverpool went ahead again 12 minutes from the end when Molby shot past Stejskal from a penalty. The match exploded as Barker and Ferdinand were sent off.

Barker went before Molby took the penalty, given against him for a push on Redknapp in the area. He then pushed Redknappin the face and amid fierce protests was dismissed.

Four minutes later, Ferdinand kicked the ball away after being given offside. Following his earlier caution for dissent after the first Liverpool goal, Mr Callow sent him off for a second bookable offence.

Ferdinand had to be restrained by players from both sides and Rangers manager Gerry Francis went on to the pitch to calm him down before he was led off.’

Des Kelly included this quote from Les Ferdinand in his match report:

“I am bitterly disappointed about all this. I didn’t hear the whistle in the heat of the match – it’s as simple as that. When I found out he was going to send me off I just could not believe it. I thought referees were able to use a bit of discretion over that kind of thing.”

“But it was a one-off situation and it will never happen again. I just want to put the whole episode behind me now.”

And Simon Barker said this about his dismissal: “I gave Redknapp the chance to dive – and he took it. I’m very sorry that I gave him the opportunity. Liverpool had already made four or five attempts to get a penalty before Redknapp went down. They were getting desperate.”

“We were defending well, and they weren’t going to score any other way. We’ve conceded so many penalties there over the years, but these things happen at Liverpool.”

“There was a melee, but it was handbags at five paces. If you dismiss people for that, there would be players sent off all the time.”

Steve Russell