Liverpool got the new Premier League campaign off to a flying start on Friday night with a 4-1 win over Norwich City.
In this latest Scout Notes article, we have assessed the key Fantasy talking points from Anfield as we start making early preparations for Gameweek 2.
Also, there is a new feature for Scout Notes available to Fantasy Football Scout Members this year.
Each Scout Notes article will end with an analysis of the match data, which, more often than not, can give the best insight into the Fantasy implications, in combination with the eye test, of course.
Liverpool 4-1 Norwich City
Goals: Mohamed Salah (£12.5m), Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m), Divock Origi (£5.5m) | Teemu Pukki (£6.5m)
Own Goals: Grant Hanley (£4.0m)
Assists: Origi, Roberto Firmino (£9.5m), Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.0m) | Emi Buendía (£6.0m)
Bonus Points: Origi x3, Salah x2, Pukki x1
Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) rewarded the faith shown in him for the Gameweek 1 captaincy by registering a 12-point haul in Liverpool’s Friday night win.
Owned by 43% of Fantasy managers, and captained by over 60% of those who voted in the Fantasy Football Scout poll for the armband, the Egyptian was most obliging at Anfield.
He scored the second goal in the rout, latching onto the end of Roberto Firmino‘s (£9.5m) through ball and slotting cooly under Tim Krul (£4.5m).
Salah then provided the assist for Virgil van Dijk‘s (£6.5m) goal with a corner. The fact that he took the set piece will be of further encouragement to those in possession of the Egyptian.
However, we should not get too carried away by his involvement in the corners at least, as it appears at this early stage of the campaign that he is sharing them with Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.0m).
The left-footed Salah took the responsibility for corners on the left side of the field, while Alexander-Arnold took those on the right, creating out-swinging crosses on both flanks.
It must be said that, despite producing some excellent crosses from open play, and getting an assist from them, the right-back’s delivery from the corner flag was relatively poor against Norwich.
However, those who opted for Alexander-Arnold over Andrew Robertson (£7.0m) were still satisfied with the outcome of the game, as he outscored his colleague by five points to two.
Alexander-Arnold provided the assist for Divock Origi‘s (£5.5m) goal with a trademark cross from deep and should have arguably registered a second assist on the night, were it not for a Firmino miss.
The right-back was played in behind the Norwich defence by a skilful Salah backheel and his ball across the goal was wrapped around the post from very close range by Firmino.
Alexander-Arnold also could have scored as he slammed a second-half direct free
Robertson owners were perhaps the most disappointed of all considering that van Dijk registered eight points from scoring in the first half.
The Dutchman has now scored six goals in his last 18 appearances for Liverpool as he continues to extend his threat from set-pieces.
The disparity between the three key Liverpool defenders’ Gameweek 1 scores was very much rooted in the fact that Liverpool lost their clean sheet in the second half.
The Reds did not look their usual assured selves at the back in this opening match of 2019/20, even before they were forced into a goalkeeper change in the 38th minute.
Norwich did not make it easy for Liverpool as they, as promised by manager Daniel Farke, refused to park the bus and asked some questions of their illustrious hosts in the first half.
Half-way through the initial period, Norwich had registered more than double the number of Liverpool’s shots (five to two) with Marco Stiepermann (£5.5m) responsible for three of those efforts.
From the off, Norwich looked to get on the ball where possible and pressed Liverpool high up the pitch.
It was this pressure that led their first chance, ensuring that Alisson‘s (£6.0m) wayward pass in the first five minutes was pounced upon by Teemu Pukki (£6.5m). His cross into the box was fired over the bar by Stiepermann but was certainly a warning sign of what Norwich are capable of this season.
Just as they did on their way to winning the Championship title last season, the Canaries played the ball out from the back as often as possible, even if, at times, it left them a little exposed.
When in possession at the back, the full-backs pushed up the pitch and the centre-backs split across either side of the penalty box to receive passes from
Even when they were 4-0 down, Norwich were determined to press and prod Liverpool from the front.
That led to substitute Moritz Leitner (£6.0m) finding the space to shoot inside the box around the hour mark, seeing his effort cannon off the crossbar.
These elements of their play are bound to have both positive and negative effects for Norwich this season. It was this energetic insistence on moving the ball and putting pressure on opposing defenders that helped Pukki score their first top-flight goal of the campaign but it is likely to lead to plenty of shots given up – good news for captain candidates set to face the Canaries.
As for the implications on Liverpool, there will certainly be further concern over their defensive assets.
Klopp did make one change from that match, starting Joe Gomez (£5.5m) at centre-back instead of Joel Matip (£5.5m) but even at this early stage, those with a Liverpool defensive double-up may already be considering their options.
Once again, Liverpool looked especially fragile down Alexander-Arnold’s flank, and Norwich enjoyed most of their work in the first half in his area of the pitch.
The fact that has happened both against elite opposition in Manchester City and a lesser-side in the Canaries might just increase concerns over Alexander-Arnold’s role in the team moving forward.
Those who had grown unfamiliar with just how cruel FPL can be were given a sharp reminder in the first half.
Alisson came into the 2019/20 season as the most selected goalkeeper, in 32.5% of squads, but he was withdrawn in the first half.
The Liverpool shot-stopper went down with a calf problem in the 38th minute and had to be replaced by Adrian (£4.5m), who was added to FPL at £4.5m.
There seemed to be a suggestion from the media that Alisson was not quite ready to come back into the side so soon after returning from Copa America duty over the summer.
Either way, those who signed him for Gameweek 1 will be bitterly disappointed as they scored just one point and may now have to make an unwanted goalkeeper transfer for Gameweek 2.
Alisson has already been ruled out of the European Super Cup clash with Chelsea midweek and is, therefore, a doubt for the trip to Southampton next Saturday.
“The Ali situation is madness. It’s a calf injury. He felt as if something hit him from the back. He will not be ready for Wednesday, I can say that already. It’s probably more than a strain. We will have to see. It does not look too good.” – Jurgen Klopp
In the meantime, could former West Ham man Adrian become an incredible set and forget option for our Fantasy teams? We’ll have to wait for more information on Alisson’s injury but Adrian does have some potential.
“(Adrian) is a very confident guy and he came in and I don’t think he wanted to sit only on the bench for the next couple of years. He made himself ready. It is a situation, but if you are in a situation like this you want to have somebody who has played the league and who is experienced. He is 32, a calm guy, emotional as well, good with his feet – how we saw – and that’s really important for us. There are a lot of good things, but you still don’t want to have a situation where one goalie is fit. That’s how it is, but we have to see.” – Jurgen Klopp
Finally, as expected, Sadio Mané (£11.5m) was missing from the Liverpool starting line-up following his late return from African Cup of Nations commitments this summer.
That allowed Origi feature on the left flank of Liverpool’s 4-3-3 system, and get two attacking returns.
It was his first-half cross that was deflected into the Norwich net by Grant Hanley (£4.0m), and Origi connected with an Alexander-Arnold cross before half-time to make it 4-0.
Whether Origi is involved in Gameweek 2 remains to be seen though, given that Mané replaced him in the 73rd minute.
More importantly, the Senegalese international looked incredibly sharp, bearing down on Norwich’s defence from his position on the left flank. The energy he showed in his 17-minute cameo suggests he is probably raring to get back into the starting line-up.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Alisson (Adrian 38′); Robertson, van Dijk, Gomez, Alexander-Arnold; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Fabinho; Origi (Mané 73′), Firmino (Milner 85′), Salah.
Unused substitutes: Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri, Matip.
Norwich City XI (4-2-3-1): Krul; Lewis, Godfrey, Hanley, Aarons; McLean, Trybull (O Hernandez 69′); Cantwell, Stiepermann (Leitner 57′), Buendía; Pukki (Drmic 82′).
Unused substitutes: Fahrmann, Byram, Roberts, Vrancic
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Lessons learned from Gameweek 1
- Liverpool 4-1 Norwich
- West Ham United 0-5 Manchester City
- Bournemouth 1-1 Sheffield United
- Burnley 3-0 Southampton
- Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton
- Watford 0-3 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Aston Villa
- Leicester City 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Newcastle United 0-1 Arsenal
- Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea