Scout Notes

More anguish for Salah’s owners as Mane and Liverpool defence excel

Almost a year since Liverpool dismantled Watford 5-0 in a memorable Blank Gameweek 31, the Reds repeated the trick at Anfield on Wednesday evening.

The corresponding fixture in 2017/18 was famous for Mohamed Salah‘s 29-point haul but the Egyptian was to take a back seat this time around, not registering a single attacking return as Javi Gracia’s hitherto in-form side were completely blown away by the Premier League leaders in what was probably the Reds’ best display of 2019 so far.

Sadio Mane, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson and Virgil van Dijk all produced excellent performances and double-digit Fantasy Premier League returns as Jurgen Klopp’s side ran riot – but this was a fourth blank in five Gameweeks for Salah and his legions of owners.

We discuss the Reds’ scintillating display from a Fantasy perspective below.

Liverpool 5-0 Watford

  • Goals: Sadio Mane (£9.7m) x2, Divock Origi (£5.0m), Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m)
  • Assists: Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.3m) x3, Andrew Robertson (£6.8m) x2

It’s not often that an FPL asset scores two goals and emerges without any FPL bonus points to supplement his score, but Sadio Mane (£9.7m) achieved that “feat” in Gameweek 28.

The Senegal international and his owners were forced to make do with 13 points due to the heroics of three of Liverpool’s defenders but other than that smallest of gripes, this was another satisfying evening for those Fantasy bosses who backed the premium midfielder.

Mane now has six goals in as many Premier League matches, twice as many as Mohamed Salah (£13.6m) has managed during that time and indeed more than any FPL midfielder over the same period.

No player in Mane’s position can match him for shots in the box or efforts on target over those half-dozen Gameweeks, either.

Returning 16.3 FPL points per million spent, Mane is now providing better value for money than Salah (14.8) over the course of the season.

With Roberto Firmino (£9.2m) sidelined with an ankle injury, the Senegalese winger was moved into a centre-forward role for the visit of the Hornets, with Salah stationed on the right flank and Divock Origi (£5.0m) brought into the side on the left.

The tactical tweak was a near-immediate success, with Mane first heading a superb Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.3m) cross past Ben Foster (£4.6m) and then doubling Liverpool’s lead when brilliantly backheeling another delivery from the England right-back past the Watford goalkeeper.

Alexander-Arnold had almost provided another assist for Mane in between those two goals, while the former Southampton winger was denied a hat-trick in the second half when Craig Cathcart (£4.6m) blocked his goalbound effort.

Mane would have earlier had a tap-in to complete his treble, too, only for Andrew Robertson (£6.8m) to miscue what should have been a fairly straightforward ball across the six-yard box.

It could be argued that Mane looks a much better fit than Salah as the spearhead of the Liverpool attack, while Klopp said:

It was the first idea, the first thought, and we didn’t change it. In that position, you need someone who is able to play in the small space, who can give you as well offers in behind, who adapts to the defensive situation, who is football-smart, all that stuff.

We have other players who can play there but not in combination with the speed of Sadio, obviously. Sadio played different positions in his life and for us as well, so I was in no doubt that he would play there.

How he did it then when he came off with Adam [Lallana] in this advanced position, that is something that can work as well, with Daniel [Sturridge] it can work as well of course, but for tonight we thought that was the solution. It was the first and last [solution].

[It was a surprise] scoring-wise, of course, performance-wise not. That’s what we expect, that he plays like this, that he offers these things.

You don’t train when you play Sunday and Wednesday obviously. We still did yesterday something but it was very, very low intensity. But we could show him at least where we want him to go, where we need him to run and yes, he did it better than we expected of course because who can expect two goals from a player? But the performance, I am not surprised. That’s Sadio’s level.

Klopp also had positive words to say about Salah’s contribution:

How Mo played, come on, that was unbelievable! He was pretty much unplayable tonight. In a game without scoring, I think this kind of performance is exceptional. 

Though he occasionally frustrated with his tendency to dribble into cul-de-sacs and take heavy touches, this was a much more dynamic showing from Salah after the anonymous display at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Egypt international attempted more take-ons in this one match than all bar four FPL midfielders have managed in the last four Gameweeks combined, giving Adam Masina (£4.3m) a torrid evening at right-back.

Salah tested Foster from range and then struck the post via the former West Brom custodian’s body, while the Egyptian recorded more than twice as many penalty box touches than anyone else on show at Anfield.

The reinstatement of Alexander-Arnold at full-back for the first time since Gameweek 22 looked beneficial not only to Liverpool as a whole but to Salah individually, with the defender’s menacing presence down the right flank drawing some of the attention away from Salah.

Alexander-Arnold crowned a fantastic display with three assists, the “hat-trick” being completed when his teasing free-kick was nodded in by Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m).

This was one of the finest displays of crossing seen all season, with another one of his superlative first-half deliveries flashing across the Watford six-yard box and only just eluding Salah and Mane.

Klopp said of Alexander-Arnold’s display:

He didn’t play on Sunday [but] I don’t think about last games. Trent was injured, played a game and then it was clear we have to make a decision, can he play three games in a week? We were not sure and that’s why he didn’t play against United, that was the only reason.

So now it was clear he would play today, he was rested and could start and he played an outstanding football game. And obviously he is fit, if you see how he was chasing back in all the counter-attacks of them and was involved in pretty much each offensive situation.

It was a brilliant performance. The crosses; the first corner was not exactly how we wanted to have it, it was pretty flat and we wanted to have it higher, but all the rest crossing-wise was just outstanding. I don’t say it was easy to finish with these situations but the crosses made it easier, at least.

Robertson himself banked two assists on the opposite flank without perhaps reaching the same levels as Alexander-Arnold, though his cross for van Dijk’s second goal was worthy of high praise and another ball he flashed across the Watford goalmouth went unrewarded early in the second half.

The Scotland international already has nine assists for the season, more than any defender has managed not just in 2018/19 but in every one of the previous three campaigns too.

Van Dijk’s two goals (his second and third of the season) were all about the deliveries but were reward for a year of penalty box prominence at set plays.

Klopp said:

It’s massive when the big boy is jumping that high and finishing off like that. It’s difficult for Virg because the refs allow a lot in these box challenges with him. Defensively they try and block him out, offensively they tried everything to keep him away from the ball actually.

It helps a lot having the second or third threat around him because he is very often not marked but stopped, or whatever you can say. And now coming in these moments, being there, was really, really nice to see and of course, the crowd enjoys it.

Watford were soundly beaten and only sporadically threatened, with substitute Andre Gray (£5.9m) wasting the best of his side’s few chances when his close-range volley was deflected over by Alisson (£6.0m).

Troy Deeney (£5.9m) was also unable to turn Gerald Deulofeu‘s (£5.6m) low ball past the Brazilian goalkeeper but this was a fairly comfortable clean sheet for Liverpool’s backline, five days after the Hornets had themselves put five goals past Cardiff.

Owners of the likes of Harry Maguire (£5.4m) and set-piece specialist James Maddison (£6.6m) will have been encouraged ahead of Sunday’s meeting between Leicester and Watford, as the Hornets shipped another three headed goals from crosses.

Gracia’s side have conceded more headed opportunities and chances from set plays than any other Premier League side in 2019.

The Watford head coach said of his team’s display:

Today doesn’t change my opinion about my players, it doesn’t change the confidence I have in all of them. Today’s a bad day for all of us. They have good players and are a very good team, they played well, they deserved to win and we’ll try to do better next time.

After we conceded one early goal it was very difficult for us to compete. Today we have conceded more goals from lateral crosses, we’ve not defended the way we usually do but [there were] different players like Matip, Van Dijk, Matip, Origi today and Mane, we know it’s demanding.

Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Milner (Henderson 70′), Fabinho, Wijnaldum (Keita 84′); Salah, Origi, Mane (Lallana 78′). 

Watford XI (4-4-2): Foster; Janmaat, Cathcart, Mariappa, Masina; Pereyra (Sema 84′), Capoue, Doucoure, Hughes; Deeney (Gray 73′), Deulofeu (Cleverley 73′).

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1,601 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Dave Dreamer
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 20 days ago

    Either worth a minus 4?

    A. Pogba > Hazard
    B. Rashford > Higuan
    C. Save

    1. kuzser
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 20 days ago

      C

    2. FPL_DON
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 20 days ago

      rash > vardy

      1. Dave Dreamer
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        1 month, 20 days ago

        Already got Vardy in for Aubam

    3. Freddiebell
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 20 days ago

      Rash > Vardy

  2. Bossworld
      1 month, 20 days ago

      Took a -4 but having brought Rondon in last week, he's gone straight out for Vardy as had exact cash.

      Still regretting not going Son > Mane last week, so that's happened to make amends.

    • kuzser
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 20 days ago

      What should be a priority here? 1ft,1.7itb
      1. Transfer for gw29
      a. Auba->Higuain
      B. Awb/Schindler->Luiz
      C.save

      2. Play
      A.barnes (wat)
      B. McNeil (CPL)

      Team:
      Fab
      Pereira robbo Lejeune 
      Salah Anderson pogba McNeil 
      Auba Jimenez Aguero

      Subs: Barnes, schindler, awb

      1. caldracula
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 20 days ago

        B2 bench Pereira

      2. Amey
          1 month, 20 days ago

          A1

      3. el polako
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 20 days ago

        Son, Kola & Perreira out
        Sterling, Diop & Schar in

        Will cost me -4 but should pay off right ?

        1. Original Pirate Material
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          1 month, 20 days ago

          I reckon so

        2. twoplustwo
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 20 days ago

          Diop and Schar are rank transfers

          1. el polako
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            1 month, 20 days ago

            I could just go Son & Perreira to Sterling and 4.0 def for free.

            1. twoplustwo
              • 4 Years
              1 month, 20 days ago

              A bit better. Do you have Aguero? I fancy Son to do well against Arsenal's defenders.

              1. el polako
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                1 month, 20 days ago

                No City at the moment.

                1. twoplustwo
                  • 4 Years
                  1 month, 20 days ago

                  I would be tempted to go without. Kola out this week ahead of GW31 would be start given you have 2 FTs.

                  1. el polako
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 1 Year
                    1 month, 20 days ago

                    I do, food for thought.
                    Thanks

        3. Dave Dreamer
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          1 month, 20 days ago

          Not a fan tbh

        4. *sigh*
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          1 month, 20 days ago

          Son in red hot form though.Id hold for now.

          1. el polako
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            1 month, 20 days ago

            Didnt look great last night.

          2. how now brown cow
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            1 month, 20 days ago

            How long do you have to be anonymous before considered not in red hot form?

            That is 2 games.

      4. Original Pirate Material
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        1 month, 20 days ago

        Approximate date the first lot of DGW will be announced?

        1. Flapjack ✅
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 20 days ago

          It was announced ahead of 27

          Lock down your aerial

        2. Jᴀʀᴠish
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 20 days ago

          All the remaining fixtures should be announced just after GW31 finishes

      5. Jellyfish
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 20 days ago

        Bottomed....Which pool DF is the best pick going forward? TAA is the tempting option given his value, and Klopps comments hint at more regular games now that he is through his injury....but VVD is the one that is drawing me in

        1. MTPockets
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          1 month, 20 days ago

          Robertson. Haven't had him all season - mistake

        2. Flapjack ✅
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 20 days ago

          Depends on team and budget.
          I got rid of Robbo GW3 and have mainly had TAA since. I like the kid.

          1. Jellyfish
            • 7 Years
            1 month, 20 days ago

            I had Robbo but binned him around gw15 when I WC.

            Current squad is as follows (2m banked)

            Fab
            Luiz Kola Doherty AWB Bednarek
            Salah Mane Son Pogba Camarasa
            Rash Kun Jimmy

            1. Jellyfish
              • 7 Years
              1 month, 20 days ago

              Oh and 2FTs

      6. Atimis
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 20 days ago

        Son to Hazard or some other move?

        Fab
        Pereira/Doherty/Shaw
        Salah/Mane/Pogba/Son
        Kun/Barnes/Jimenez

        Hart/Bednarek/Puncheon/WB

        1. antis0cial
          • 2 Years
          1 month, 20 days ago

          I've done that move, I think Son will do well but so should Hazard and I'm building for gw 31/33

      7. Plymouth
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 20 days ago

        Son - Haz for free?

        1. Flapjack ✅
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 20 days ago

          I like Son v Arsenal but also 0.1 short of that move 😉

          1. Plymouth
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            1 month, 20 days ago

            I like it too. But yeah

        2. twoplustwo
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 20 days ago

          Got to be

        3. Zladan
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 20 days ago

          Nice move

        4. Amey
            1 month, 20 days ago

            Yep

          • Greek Flair
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 20 days ago

            mane/sterling as other options, causing me a right headache

            1. Plymouth
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 6 Years
              1 month, 20 days ago

              Got Sterling and three pool already

          • Dave Dreamer
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            1 month, 20 days ago

            Definitely

          • Longlatini
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            1 month, 20 days ago

            Like it

          • antis0cial
            • 2 Years
            1 month, 20 days ago

            I've already done this move this week. So yes from me

          • Freddiebell
            • 2 Years
            1 month, 20 days ago

            Makes sense but wouldn't surprise me I'd son out scores hazard this week ge

        5. kime67
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 20 days ago

          are you giving son one more chance?

        6. Totti
          • 2 Years
          1 month, 20 days ago

          Reposting looking for replies

          what to do with that lot?

          fabianski
          TAA kolasinac doherty laporte femenia
          salah pogba siggy fraser hayden
          aguero auba jimenez

          any suggestins guys?

          1. Zladan
            • 1 Year
            1 month, 20 days ago

            Auba out to Higuain/Vardy/Arnie

        7. ShaunGoater123
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 20 days ago

          Hi guys,

          Already got in Higuain for Auba, is it worth getting in Sterling for KDB aswell for a -4?

          I'm chasing a big lead so need differentials and leader doesn't have Sterling as it stands, although it goes against building for 31 which I'm trying to do.

          Current team:

          Lloris / Button

          VVD / Jonny / Doherty / Maguire / Bednarek

          Mane / Salah / Pogba / KDB / McNeil

          Rondon / Arnie / Higuain

          1. g40steve
            • 1 Year
            1 month, 20 days ago

            Get a playing keeper for 31?

            1. ShaunGoater123
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 4 Years
              1 month, 20 days ago

              will likely get Boruc if i have a free transfer

        8. Tabbara
          • 2 Years
          1 month, 20 days ago

          Azpi our David Luiz as a potential replacement for Laporte

          1. Longlatini
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            1 month, 20 days ago

            Luiz better value

          2. g40steve
            • 1 Year
            1 month, 20 days ago

            Luiz

        9. Amey
            1 month, 20 days ago

            Do we think Sterling can outscore Hazard by 4 points over next 2 fixtures ??

            1. MTPockets
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 9 Years
              1 month, 20 days ago

              Will he play both?

              1. Amey
                  1 month, 20 days ago

                  He should now after having rest in last match ??

            2. RustyBz
              • 4 Years
              1 month, 20 days ago

              Son + Auba -> Vardy + Hazard on a free. Yay or nay?

              1. Dave Dreamer
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                1 month, 20 days ago

                oh Yay

              2. Amey
                  1 month, 20 days ago

                  Yes if you already own Aguero/Raz.
                  Otherwise add one of them in the mixture

              3. g40steve
                • 1 Year
                1 month, 20 days ago

                Who's doing the Salah to Sterling hokey cokey this weekend?

                Who do you see as the must haves for next 2-3 weeks?

                1. Maddamotha
                  • 2 Years
                  1 month, 20 days ago

                  I wouldnt and im the king of hokey kokeys

                2. antis0cial
                  • 2 Years
                  1 month, 20 days ago

                  I've got both (no Aguero). I lost so much ground when I dumped Salah on WC earlier in season, keeping till the bitter end now.

              4. Eat my goal!
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                1 month, 20 days ago

                Captain:

                1-Pogba
                2-Sterling
                3-Hazard

                Play:

                A-Rondon
                B-Pereira

                1. RustyBz
                  • 4 Years
                  1 month, 20 days ago

                  1 & A

                2. Amey
                    1 month, 20 days ago

                    2
                    A

                  • el polako
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 1 Year
                    1 month, 20 days ago

                    3A

                  • antis0cial
                    • 2 Years
                    1 month, 20 days ago

                    2A

                  • Miguel Sanchez
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 2 Years
                    1 month, 20 days ago

                    2A

                  • Freddiebell
                    • 2 Years
                    1 month, 20 days ago

                    1+A

                3. Colby
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 7 Years
                  1 month, 20 days ago

                  Anyone considering bringing in Lanzini. 45 mins under his belt last night.

                  1. *sigh*
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 7 Years
                    1 month, 20 days ago

                    Major differential mentioned on FML FPL podcast last night.Shhh it’s a secret.

                    1. Colby
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 7 Years
                      1 month, 20 days ago

                      Didn’t realise lol. Cheers.

                      1. *sigh*
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 7 Years
                        1 month, 20 days ago

                        Their podcasts always worth a listen if you don’t already Colby.

                  2. Maddamotha
                    • 2 Years
                    1 month, 20 days ago

                    No

                4. antis0cial
                  • 2 Years
                  1 month, 20 days ago

                  G2G?

                  Fab
                  Robbo Doherty Lascelles
                  Sterling (c) Salah Hazard (vc) Mane Pogba
                  Jimi Barnes

                  Pereira Digne Kama

                5. Snevitz
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 9 Years
                  1 month, 20 days ago

                  All set up ok?

                  Fabianski
                  Robertson, TAA, Luiz, Doherty
                  Salah (VC),Hazard (C), Son, Pogba
                  Vardy, Jimenez

                  A.Barnes, McNeil, Pereira

                  No FTs and £0.2m ITB

                  1. Eat my goal!
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    1 month, 20 days ago

                    Looks like you need to take some hits!

                6. savory
                  • 7 Years
                  1 month, 20 days ago

                  Which 4 for the next 4?

                  Hazard ful WOL eve car
                  Salah eve BUR ful TOT
                  Mane eve BUR ful TOT
                  Pogba SOU ars BLANK WAT/wol
                  Fraser MCI hud NEW lei
                  Anderson NEW car HUD EVE
                  Antonio NEW car HUD EVE

                  1. caldracula
                    • 3 Years
                    1 month, 20 days ago

                    Haz, Salah, Mane, Pog

                7. No Mo Salah
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 1 Year
                  1 month, 20 days ago

                  son -> sterling for free? got kun

                  1. twoplustwo
                    • 4 Years
                    1 month, 20 days ago

                    Nah too much for my liking with blank GW

                8. *sigh*
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 7 Years
                  1 month, 20 days ago

                  Play?
                  A) Pereira [Watford Away]
                  B) Mooy [Brighton Away]
                  C) Brooks [Man City Home]

                  1. twoplustwo
                    • 4 Years
                    1 month, 20 days ago

                    Mooy there easily for me

                  2. dbeck
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 1 Year
                    1 month, 20 days ago

                    C

                9. twoplustwo
                  • 4 Years
                  1 month, 20 days ago

                  Sorry chaps report: play Kola (Spurs) or Pereira (Watford) this week?

                  1. twoplustwo
                    • 4 Years
                    1 month, 20 days ago

                    Also have Diop (Newcastle)

                  2. dbeck
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 1 Year
                    1 month, 20 days ago

                    I think neither will keep a cleanie. Kola edges it on assist potential

                    1. F_Ivanovic
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 3 Years
                      1 month, 20 days ago

                      I think isn't really any good indication of anything. Arsenal have about 18% chance of a CS and Leicester have 25%. Arsenal are also more likely to concede more than 1 rendering negative points for the defender too.

                      Overall assist/goal potential is around similar (Kola normally slightly higher but more difficult fixture) So for me Pereira is the better one to play.

                10. dbeck
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 1 Year
                  1 month, 20 days ago

                  best combo:

                  A) Hazard, Chilwell and Rondon/King
                  B) Higuian, Luiz and Maddison
                  C) Vardy, Luiz and Anderson
                  D) other combo- 23m to spend

                  This is two replace Auba, Tomkins and JWP over the net two weeks to build for 31

                  Current Team
                  Fab Button
                  Doherty TAA Robbo Lascelles Tomkins
                  Salah Sterling JWP Pogba Puncheon
                  Jimenez Auba Barnes

                  1. dbeck
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 1 Year
                    1 month, 20 days ago

                    realized with A, Arnie is an option as just saw he was only ill

                11. luisgarcia
                  • 4 Years
                  1 month, 20 days ago

                  hi folks, there was a table containing all the blank and double gw fixtures, where can i find it? thanks in advance

                  1. potatoace
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 7 Years
                    1 month, 20 days ago

                    @BenCrellin

                12. Gooner97
                  • 5 Years
                  1 month, 20 days ago

                  Auba to Aguero?

                13. gunner1994
                  • 8 Years
                  1 month, 20 days ago

                  Salah & Barnes ----> Mane & Lacazette for no hit

                  Yay or nay?

                  1. Longlatini
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 1 Year
                    1 month, 20 days ago

                    Nope