Liverpool 3-2 West Ham
- Goals: Georginio Wijnaldum (£5.4m), Mohamed Salah (£12.8m), Sadio Mané (£12.3m) | Issa Diop (£4.3m), Pablo Fornals (£6.0m)
- Assists: Trent Alexander-Arnold x2 (£7.7m), Andrew Robertson (£7.0m) | Robert Snodgrass (£5.2m), Declan Rice (£4.7m)
- Bonus Points: Alexander-Arnold x3, Wijnaldum x2, Mané x1
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.7m) continues to ask Fantasy Premier League managers questions about their captain armbands with his latest haul.
The right-back registered a 10-point score against West Ham on Monday night, putting up two assists and, despite conceding twice, collecting three bonus too.
Alexander-Arnold’s returns have been more reliable than any other Fantasy asset for some time, his last blank occurring all the way back in Gameweek 16, when he was a first-half substitute at Bournemouth.
Going back even further, the last time Alexander-Arnold failed to deliver a return (either defensive or offensive) in a match he started was in the Gameweek 13 win at Crystal Palace.
During that period, Mohamed Salah (£12.8m) has blanked in five of his starts, while Sadio Mané (£12.3m) failed to register a return in four matches that he started.
Admittedly, both midfielders found the net against West Ham but were still outscored by Alexander-Arnold and his excellent delivery into the penalty box.
The right-back was a constant source of concern for West Ham, even when the visitors were enjoying a 2-1 lead.
It was his quick-thinking that led to Georginio Wijnaldum‘s (£5.4m) opener as he whipped a loose ball into the box when the Hammers’ defence had assumed it was going out for a corner.
Alexander-Arnold then found Salah on the back-post with an indirect free-kick, went close to scoring with from a direct one and the resulting corner nearly produced an assist as Virgil van Dijk (£6.6m) clipped the top of the bar.
The England international came close to two assists for Firmino in the second half, seeing the Brazilian nod a corner over the bar before Angelo Ogbonna‘s (£4.5m) header denied him from converting an Alexander-Arnold pass into a certain close-range goal.
“I think we passed the moment where we treat (Alexander-Arnold) like a young boy, he is just a proper member of the squad. Everybody has to contribute, everybody has to bring on the pitch what he is able to do – and the boys do a lot to bring him or Robbo in the position and save them there. I don’t want to make the performance more than it is, I am completely happy with it, but that’s how football works on the highest level.” – Jurgen Klopp
That said, Salah and Mané were still just as threatening compared to their defensive colleague, especially in the second half when Liverpool were forced to chase the game.
Salah’s Fantasy appeal has been obvious for some time, capped off with heavy backing for the Gameweek 27 captaincy, but Mané continues to force himself back into the conversation.
The Senegalese international, who lost a chunk of owners to a Double Gameweek 24 injury, arguably could have emerged with a double-figure against West Ham. He was adjudged to be offside late in the game when Alexander-Arnold flashed a ball across West Ham’s goal-line.
Back-to-back returns for Mané since recovering from injury puts pressure on those still holding Roberto Firmino (£9.7m), who now has consecutive blanks and remains goalless at Anfield in the Premier League this season.
However, the Brazilian was perhaps unlucky not to come away with something in Gameweek 27.
In the 25th minute, Firmino lined up a shot from the edge of the box, which was not too far over the bar and, five minutes later, he laid the ball off to Alexander-Arnold, who had pushed into midfield. The right-back rifled an effort back across the goal which went just wide of the post.
Immediately after the restart, Firmino was played into acres of space by Alexander-Arnold but blazed his shot clumsily over the bar.
Then, as the game wore on, the Brazilian, standing on the back-post, headed a looping ball onto the woodwork from point-blank range and was inches away from getting a touch on Alexander-Arnold’s cross which fell to Mané for the winner.
Finding himself on the Goals Imminent table for Blank Gameweek 28, Firmino is certainly due some attacking returns. He remains Liverpool’s top-scorer away from home this season, which bodes well ahead of a trip to Watford on Saturday evening.
For all Liverpool’s brilliance at Anfield, Fantasy managers should take note of how this latest win played out, though. Despite controlling the game on Monday night, Jurgen Klopp’s men were still missing something at both ends of the pitch for large spells.
They toiled going forward and were less than assured at the back. That has arguably been the case for each of their outings since the Winter Break, while the absence of injured pair Jordan Henderson (£5.5m) and James Milner (£5.3m) probably had an impact too.
Issa Diop (£4.3m) was largely unchallenged when he nodded home Robert Snodgrass‘ (£5.2m) first-half corner, and, with van Dijk out of position shortly after, Joe Gomez‘s (£5.3m) slip nearly allowed Michail Antonio (£6.9m) to capitalise, were it not for the midfielder’s heavy touch.
The Hammers continued to cause issues from corners and even went ahead in the 54th minute when Declan Rice‘s (£4.7m) square ball found Pablo Fornals (£6.0m) unmarked in the penalty area.
In giving up two goals against West Ham, Liverpool matched their goals conceded total from the previous 11 matches in just 90 minutes. Owners of the defensive double-up will certainly be hoping for an improvement at Watford on Sunday.
“Second-ball game was not good. Losing the first ball is possible because Antonio, Haller, whoever is there is just too good and you cannot win all the balls. But then the second ball, we have to pick up better. The formation was not good, we showed the boys at half-time, it just makes no sense there. And the set-pieces obviously; they were really good from them, we were not that clear in these situations and that’s how they scored the goal. So they got a little bit of momentum, or maybe they got the momentum.” – Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool managed to grab the game by the scruff of its neck when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£6.2m) came on for Naby Keïta (£5.8m), adding some much-needed drive and creativity to the central midfield trio. If Henderson and Milner are still out for Blank Gameweek 28, the former Arsenal man has done his chances of starting at Watford no harm at all.
“Yes, we needed that direction. Ox came on and the first [contribution] was a finish. Close, but still a finish. Next one was dribbling with a foul or not, if it was not a foul then probably we have the ball in a good position again. So, the dynamic helped, of course. Always, if you get direction in a game, our people appreciate that obviously. That helped.” – Jurgen Klopp
From a West Ham perspective, there was a lot to like about Snodgrass’ performance in both phases of play.
The Scottish international also arguably retains an element of budget differential about him, adding his fourth attacking return over the last three matches. Nicolas Pépé (£9.2m) is the only midfielder to have matched Snodgrass in that time.
Finally, much of West Ham’s good work against Liverpool was inspired by recent signing Tomas Soucek (£5.0m). Unfortunately for David Moyes, the Czech Republic international had to go off injured almost immediately after half-time.
“(Soucek) picked up the injury just before half time and it meant that he was struggling. We knew at half time and I thought he had been fabulous as well. It is a big loss to us, especially in the second half as we didn’t have an awful lot where we could tighten things up, really. I am hoping he will be OK but it looks like a groin or adductor injury from over stretching in the first half.” – David Moyes
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Robertson, van Dijk, Gomez, Alexander-Arnold; Keïta (Oxlade-Chamberlain 57′), Wijnaldum, Fabinho; Mané (Matip 90+1′), Firmino, Salah.
West Ham United XI (4-3-3): Fabianski; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Diop; Ngakia; Rice, Noble, Soucek (Fornals 47′); Antonio, Anderson (Haller 65′), Snodgrass (Bowen 84′).
Become a Member and access our data
Memberships for the rest of 2019/20 and the whole of 2020/21 are now available for the price of £17.50, while monthly subscriptions cost just £2.99.
Join now to get the following:
- Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
- Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
- Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
- Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
- Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
- Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
- Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
- View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
- Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.