Richard Dunne and Steven Caulker both put through their own net as Liverpool beat Queens Park Rangers 3-2 at Loftus Road with four of the goals coming in the final nine minutes.
Caulker's error in the sixth minute of injury time ultimately settled a pulsating Barclays Premier League encounter in Liverpool's favour, but only after a see-saw battle.
Eduardo Vargas, the QPR substitute who was fresh from a brace of goals for Chile against Peru on international duty last week, looked set to grab the headlines heading into injury time. On as a 79th-minute replacement for Bobby Zamora, the striker scored for the first time since arriving on loan from Napoli to level at 1-1, and then tied the scores again at 2-2 after Philippe Coutinho's goal on the counter-attack had once again put Liverpool in the ascendancy.
Richard Dunne had earlier put through his own net to open the scoring, in the process becoming the first player in Barclays Premier League history to reach double figures for own goals. But it was his team-mate Caulker whose unwanted contribution proved decisive when he turned the ball past Alex McCarthy after Vargas's second equaliser as Liverpool broke again.
Raheem Sterling received a warm reception by both sets of supporters, having spent some time at the QPR academy before moving to Merseyside, and he played a vital role in the goal that eventually won it for the visitors.
Alex McCarthy made his Barclays Premier League debut in the QPR goal, with Robert Green suffering from tonsillitis, while Rio Ferdinand was dropped to the bench, with Dunne coming in along with Yun Suk-young and Bobby Zamora. Liverpool made four changes, with Mario Balotelli back in for Rickie Lambert up front, while Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique returned as full-backs and Emre Can played for the first time since the end of August after recovering from an ankle injury.
QPR started brightly and almost went ahead when Charlie Austin battled past Johnson and Martin Skrtel before being denied by Simon Mignolet rushing out to save with his feet. Missed hosts blew another great chance approaching the half-hour when Zamora broke clear down the right and pulled a fine pass back across the area, only for Leroy Fer to fire against the crossbar from eight yards out with the goal at his mercy.
Fer again hit the woodwork with a header from Zamora's cross and Johnson just managed to clear the danger as Austin and Sandro raced in to pounce on the rebound.
Liverpool showed little attacking threat throughout the first period but Steven Gerrard went close as the interval approached when curling a shot just wide of a post.
Harry Redknapp was forced to replace Nedum Onuoha with Matt Phillips during the break but QPR were straight back on the front foot as Sandro forced Mignolet to make a fine save. Liverpool started to find more of a rhythm around the hour and Balotelli could have scored his first BPL goal for Liverpool when McCarthy could only palm out an Adam Lallana effort, but the Italian put the rebound over the crossbar.
The visitors did take the lead on 67 minutes, when quick thinking by Sterling at a set-piece put Johnson free down the right and his low cross was turned into his own net by Dunne.
Mignolet was at full stretch to keep out a header from substitute Armand Traore and McCarthy saved a Balotelli shot with his legs as the game opened up.
QPR drew level on 87 minutes as Vargas was first to react to Austin's knock-back after Liverpool had failed to clear a free-kick. But that was merely the precursor to even more late drama.
Coutinho then raced up the other end to put the visitors back in front after being played in by Gerrard, before Vargas struck again with a header from a corner two minutes into stoppage time.
However, even that was not the end of the scoring, as Sterling sprinted in behind the QPR defence and his cross was turned into his own net by a luckless Caulker.
QPR manager Harry Redknapp: "I don't need anyone to tell me that they were lucky, I could see that for myself. There is no way we deserved to get beat today.
"That's the best I’ve seen us play since I’ve been at the club, including last year in the Championship. That was the best performance I've seen. We were naïve. We get a free-kick with one minute to go. We don't send our big men up and chip a ball into the box for them to head it out and break on us.
"We need to make sure we don't get beat today. We have got a point, we've scored with a minute to go and we don’t get beat. Have a shot, if it doesn't go in the top corner then it goes in the crowd – not a problem, we've got our shape, we'll win the ball back and we're okay. We were naïve."
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers: "They certainly didn't deserve to lose, QPR. We were very, very lucky to get the win. We showed tremendous character and were a little bit better in the second half, but QPR definitely deserved something.
"We put players on to play a game, which is a technical game. The first half, we didn't pass the ball, we had no rhythm in our game, movement was too slow, no speed in the game.
"Coutinho coming on gives us that technical lift in the game and we then started to create that bit more. Raheem Sterling was outstanding today in his running and desire. It was really quick thinking for the first goal and he broke away on the other one.
"Overall we were fortunate, but it's a long season and you're going to not play well in games. You hope to get points and today we got three points, but QPR were unfortunate."
|01 Nov 2014||v Chelsea (A)|
|15 Dec 2014||v Everton (A)|
|20 Dec 2014||v West Brom (H)|
|06 Dec 2014||v Burnley (H)|
|02 Dec 2014||v Swansea (A)|
|22 Nov 2014||v Newcastle (A)|