Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge grab a goal apiece as Liverpool race to a three-goal lead at Selhurst Park. Dwight Gayle emerges from the bench to notch twice and help snatch an unlikely draw which all but ends the Merseysiders’ hopes of clinching the title:
Suarez and Sturridge Both in the Goals
Handed a brief sub role in the previous Gameweek, Daniel Sturridge went into last night’s encounter as a doubt after failing to train for much of the week. Passed fit for the vital Selhurst Park showdown, the England international’s return to the Liverpool starting XI saw Brendan Rodgers shift away from a 4-3-3 and roll out a midfield diamond behind the “SAS” front two, with both the Merseysiders’ front men amongst the goals. Sturridge’s strike was his first since Gameweek 31 and, having plummeted in price from 10.7 to 9.8 in recent weeks, he looks set for a major bandwagon for Sunday’s home encounter with Newcastle.
Suarez is also likely to earn new owners. Sold by over 76,000 Fantasy managers due to the double Gameweek, he had struggled with illness prior to the match but still managed to fire his 31st strike of the season before the Reds somehow blew a three-goal lead late on. With the likes of Sergio Aguero and Wayne Rooney struggling for fitness, many will move back to the Uruguayan and hand him the armband as Rodgers’ side attempt to recover from last night’s capitulation.
Gerrard in the Points Again
After producing blanks in each of the previous two Gameweeks, the Reds skipper delivered a pair of assists for his Fantasy owners in a pulsating 3-3 stalemate. With 13 goals and 13 assists this season, Gerrard has now surpassed last season’s tally of 185 points and has moved up to 194 – just six behind Eden Hazard in the FPL midfield standings. Raheem Sterling’s role in “the hole” behind the front two helped the youngster to an assist against the Eagles – indeed, his withdrawal on 71 minutes proved crucial and allowed the hosts to claw back a three-goal deficit. Priced at just 6.2, Sterling is another who looks poised for investment as Rodgers’ side look to go on the attack against a Magpies side that has lost six of their last seven.
Reds’ Porous Defence Proves Costly
Whilst Suarez and Sturridge have wreaked havoc on top-flight defences and delivered 52 goals between them, Rodgers’ backline has proven to be Liverpool’s Achilles heel. Last night’s result means the Reds have now conceded two or more goals in each of their last four matches, and although two of those fixtures resulted in victories, there’s no getting away from the fact that Liverpool desperately need to tighten up at the back next year. The 3-3 draw means they have now conceded 49 goals this term – that’s one more than 15th-placed Hull and some 23 more than third-placed Chelsea, for example.
Supersub Gayle Dents the Reds’ Title Hopes
A bit-part player under Tony Pulis, the summer signing’s 22-minute cameo off the bench looks to have handed City the title on a plate. Gayle had featured just three times in the previous 15 Gameweeks – all brief second-half sub appearances – but his two-goal salvo is set to have a huge effect on the race for the title. Liverpool may be a point ahead of City, but a win for Manuel Pellegrini’s men at home to Villa on Wednesday would give them a two-point advantage at the summit, and with a superior goal difference to the Merseysiders, it now looks City’s title to lose.