Liverpool record their biggest win of the season as Everton slip to their most substantial loss. Steven Gerrard is the main protagonist, grabbing an Anfield hat-trick as the hosts get back to winning ways in the Merseyside derby…
Having been plagued by hamstring problems prior to the double gameweek, faith in Gerrard was understandably thin on the ground and, as a result, he dropped in price to 9.8. The Liverpool skipper was absent for the weekend trip to Sunderland but returned to the first-team with a bang last night, as Kenny Dalglish made four changes from the side that lost at the Stadium of Light.
His hat-trick heroics, combined with a kind run of upcoming fixtures, will no doubt see the transfers-in start to snowball but what was particularly noticeable about last night’s lineup was the absence of Charlie Adam from the Liverpool first XI. Paired with Jay Spearing in a 4-4-2, Gerrard seemed to thrive alongside a more mobile and industrious central midfield partner, as Adam failed to feature for the first time this season. With Dalglish likely to continue rotating his side, it remains to be seen just how often the Gerrard/Spearing partnership will be given a chance to flourish but the 3-0 scoreline – Liverpool’s biggest win of the season – will surely give the Reds boss food for thought, as his lacklustre attack finally sparked into life just when he needed it most.
After Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Sunderland, the gameweek had threatened to be a huge disappointment for the Uruguayan’s Fantasy owners but a 10 point (pre-bonus) haul justified his acquisition. Suarez’s goal drought continued – he has now scored just once in his last eight home appearances – but his link-up play with Gerrard saw him grab a couple of assists, as Dalglish’s side ended a dismal run that had earned a single point in the previous four.
Alongside Andy Carroll up front, Suarez created plenty opportunities for the home side and had a number of efforts himself, but despite his impressive display last night, he’s likely to be transferred out by many over the next few weeks. With Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney seen as near-essential by many for the run in, Suarez’s continued inability to find the net is likely to see Fantasy managers look elsewhere for cheaper, more reliable goalscorers, freeing up budget to invest elsewhere as squads begin to rid themselves of double gameweek punts.
The right-back not only hinted at his absence for last night’s game via twitter yesterday afternoon, he also went on to say he would be back “in a few weeks”. This suggests his hamstring trouble is perhaps far worse than previous reports had indicated and if Johnson is, indeed, sidelined for any lengthy period of time, Martin Kelly would certainly present a viable option as a direct replacement in the Liverpool back-four. The 5.2 priced right-back has now started four of the last five for Dalglish’s side and with a strong fixture schedule ahead, would offer a cut-price route into the second most resilient defence in the league.
Moyes Rings the Changes
The Everton boss made as many as six changes from the side that triumphed over Spurs on Saturday evening. With a FA Cup clash against Sunderland this weekend followed by a midweek league match at home to Arsenal, the fixtures are coming thick and fast for David Moyes’ side and with so many of his squad returning from injury, the Toffees boss is clearly unwilling to take any chances with their fitness. The likes of Royston Drenthe, Johnny Heitinga and Nikica Jelavic all dropped to the bench as Moyes freshened up his first XI but too many changes perhaps hampered their chances, as Everton conceded three goals for only the second time this season. For Fantasy owners, the win over Spurs proved the highlight of the gameweek, as both Merseyside clubs returned a clean sheet each over the two games. Post-match, Moyes summed it up best:
Had you said to me before the Spurs game ‘you will get two draws’ I would have said ‘that’s okay’, as it is, I have got three points from the two games.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
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“I am happy with the way I’ve started, but on the other hand, I should have scored four or five more, so that’s something for me to work on.”Robin Van Persie talks about his early form at United ahead of his first Manchester derby