Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle United
Goals: Sadio Mané (£11.5m) x 2, Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) x 1 | Jetro Willems (£4.5m)
Assists: Roberto Firmino (£9.5m) x 2, Andrew Robertson (£6.9m)
Bonus Points: Mané x 3 Salah x 2 Firmino x 1
Liverpool secured a 3-1 home victory over Newcastle United to maintain their 100% winning start to the 2019/20 Premier League season.
A clinical performance from Jurgen Klopp’s side continues to fuel the fire of the Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) vs Sadio Mané (£11.5m) debate after goalscoring contributions from the attacking duo.
The lunch-time kick-off was a game that belonged to the Senegalese international after he opened Liverpool’s account with a fine strike, which cancelled out a special effort from Jetro Willems (£4.5m).
Priced at £11.5m, a whole £1.0m less than his counterpart Salah, Mané’s brace alongside three bonus points means that he has now registered two double-digit hauls in 2019/20 – the same as his team-mate.
Mané did start this match as the centre-forward but actually improved once he had returned to his left-wing berth after a tactical switch from the manager.
Despite Salah also scoring in the victory over Newcastle, Mané’s appeal simply continues to grow given his attractive price and an ability to match the £12.5m man.
For managers looking to save the extra £1.0m whilst maintaining essential attacking coverage from Liverpool, opting for Mané is becoming an increasingly enticing option.
Mané then secured his second of the afternoon after poor keeping from Martin Dubravka (£5.0m), but the forward made no mistake to tuck away an important goal.
It was initially looking like it would prove a concerning afternoon for owners of the highly popular Egyptian, with Newcastle suppressing his attacking involvement throughout the game.
However, the most captained player for Gameweek 5 lived up to pre-match expectation with a well-taken goal to put the game out of Newcastle’s reach.
It was a frustrating afternoon for owners of Liverpool’s full-back duo Andy Robertson (£6.9m) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.1m), with yet another failure to keep a clean-sheet compounded by a number of missed attacking opportunities.
That said, Robertson did register his first attacking returns of the season with an assist for Mané’s opener.
For those managers persisting in their faith of a Liverpool defensive double-up, Saturday’s result against Newcastle is yet another blow to the viability of such a selection.
With just one clean sheet in their first five Premier League fixtures, it is becoming difficult to justify investing in more than one of their defenders.
Klopp initially surprised Fantasy managers with his team selection, starting Divock Origi (£5.4m) up-front and dropping Roberto Firmino (£9.5m) to the bench after the Brazilian finished international duty in America in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
However, Firmino was on the pitch after 35 minutes with Origi forced off with an ankle problem.
The centre-forward made a considerable impact with an exquisite assist for Salah’s opener as well as setting up Mané to register an eight-point score from the bench.
“We don’t want to leave Bobby Firmino out but from time to time we have to be sensible especially after long trips from wherever they come from.” – Jurgen Klopp
Despite the Belgian going off injured, Klopp did allay any concern in his post-match interviews that Origi could be out long-term.
“Hopefully with (
Origi)it’s not too serious. He twisted his ankle and played on but felt it a bit too much.” – Jurgen Klopp
Newcastle’s own attacking assets staked their claim, after Willems opened the scoring with a fine strike in the seventh minute.
After receiving a through ball from Christian Atsu (£5.4m), the full-back found space in front of Alexander-Arnold, who did not apply much
But once Liverpool had found their momentum, there was no doubt as to which side would be collecting all three points.
Steve Bruce set up the Tyneside outfit in a compact formation that enabled the likes of Jonjo Shelvey (£5.0m) and Miguel Almiron (£5.9m) to form counter-attacks to feed Joelinton (£5.9m), but the attacking overload that Liverpool are so often able to provide was too much for the Magpies.
“It’s the calf, we’re not sure if it’s cramp or a tear. The medical department
sayhe does suffer from cramp a little bit. We do hope it’s that.” – Steve Bruce
Whilst an upset similar to the 1-0 away win over Spurs was truly on the cards after Willems’ opener, Liverpool’s quality prevailed and the likes of Salah and Mané put Bruce’s side to the sword to continue their perfect winning start to the season.
Newcastle’s game-plan was evident from the outset, with Steve Bruce’s setting up in a compact formation that provided abilities to break on the counter-attack, but Liverpool’s mesmeric duo in Mané and Salah proved to simply be too much for North-East side as they cruised to an impressive victory.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Adrian; Robertson, van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold; Wijnaldum (Shaqiri 84′), Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Milner 75′); Origi (Firmino 36′), Mané, Salah.
Newcastle United XI (5-4-1): Dubravka; Willems, Dummett, Lascelles, Schär (Fernandez 80′), Krafth (Manquillo 67′); Atsu, Shelvey, Hayden, Almirón (Muto 67′); Joelinton.
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