Liverpool 2-1 Sheff Utd
- Goals: Roberto Firmino (£9.3m), Diogo Jota (£6.3m) | Sander Berge (£5.0m)
- Assists: Sadio Mané x2 (£12.0m) | Oli McBurnie (£5.7m)
- Bonus points: Firmino x3, D Jota x2, Berge x1
Point of Mo Return
Fantasy Premier League managers who captained Mohamed Salah (£12.4m) for Gameweek 6 can certainly feel rather hard done by given the way Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Sheffield United played out.
The heavily-backed Egyptian was not particularly involved in proceedings initially, after the Blades won a controversial 13th-minute penalty. And a move away from the traditional 4-3-3 formation seemed to hinder Salah finding any kind of rhythm.
He was officially deployed as the centre-forward in a 4-2-3-1 with Diogo Jota (£6.3m) operating in his usual right attacking midfield berth, although this development seemed to cause the former Wolves man and Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.4m) to get in each other’s way and damage supply to Salah.
But even after the Reds turned things around in the second half, it appeared the FPL gods were truly against the Egyptian.
Alexander-Arnold found Salah with a trademark 62nd-minute through-ball from deep, allowing him to nip in behind the Sheffield United defence and poke beyond Aaron Ramsdale (£4.9m). However, the goal was chalked off by VAR for a very marginal, albeit correct, offside call.
Then, in the 81st minute, Salah peeled an agile turn off the back of John Egan (£4.9m) to get behind the Blades’ defence and go one-on-one with Ramsdale. This time he shimmied inside the six-yard box and flicked his deft shot… onto the post.
Backed by over 40% of the Fantasy Football Scout captain poll for this weekend, Salah’s second blank of the season could be a Gameweek-defining event considering that Harry Kane (£10.8m) proved the most popular skipper in the top 10k.
While it is unlikely to offer too much comfort in the event that Spurs’ key attackers explode on Monday night, the fact that Salah was so unfortunate not to return is surely enough to keep him in the captaincy conversation for Gameweek 7 when West Ham come to Anfield.
Mané of the Moment?
Salah’s blank was made all the more conspicuous by an eight-point haul for Sadio Mané (£12.0m) who has proved a more reliable asset since returning from his coronavirus-related absence in Gameweek 4.
In the last two matches, Salah has registered a total of nine points, while his left-sided colleague has totted up a total of 14.
On the Virg
Against Sheffield United, Fantasy managers got their first look at Liverpool without Virgil van Dijk (£6.4m) in the Premier League.
After keeping out Ajax in the Champions League midweek, the Reds were a little more vulnerable on Saturday evening.
Liverpool were actually boosted by the unexpected return of Alisson (£5.9m) behind a centre-back pairing of Fabinho (£5.5m) and Joe Gomez (£5.4m), although they were still unable to keep a first home clean sheet of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign.
For all the Blades’ struggles in front of goal this season, they still asked questions of Liverpool’s defence on Saturday night.
Oli McBurnie (£5.7m) ghosted in behind Alexander-Arnold in the 20th minute, allowed enough time to fire a left-footed shot across Alisson’s goal.
Then in the 23rd minute, George Baldock (£5.4m) pressed into space left by Andrew Robertson (£7.1m) to loop a cross to the back post where Ben Osborn (£4.9m) fired a powerful volley at the Reds’ goalkeeper.
The right wing-back then had a fierce effort from the edge of the box deflected wide for a corner after John Lundstram‘s (£5.3m) initial ball was cleared.
That said, owners of Alexander-Arnold and Robertson can arguably feel as hard-done-by as those who captained Salah regarding Liverpool’s clean sheet.
None of the aforementioned chances created by Sheffield United found their way into Alisson’s net, the Blades scoring from a controversial penalty, with replays heavily suggesting that Fabinho won the ball when tackling McBurnie, as well as the incident taking place outside the penalty box…
So, is it worth holding onto the Liverpool defensive double-up? It certainly gets more difficult each week, but, forgetting what they have shown in the first five Gameweeks, the clean sheet wipeout feels more about bad luck on this occasion. Sander Berge‘s (£5.0m) spot-kick was the first one Liverpool had faced at Anfield in the Premier League for 37 such matches there.
Liverpool XI: Alisson; Robertson, Gomez, Fabinho, Alexander-Arnold; J Henderson, Wijnaldum; Mané, Firmino (Minamino 83′), D Jota (Milner 83′); Salah.
Sheffield United XI: Ramsdale; Ampadu, Egan, Basham; Stevens, Osborn, Berge, Lundstram (McGoldrick 76′), Baldock; Brewster (Burke 54′), McBurnie.
LESSONS LEARNED FROM FPL GAMEWEEK 6
- Aston Villa 0-3 Leeds United
- West Ham United 1-1 Manchester City
- Fulham 1-2 Crystal Palace
- Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea
- Liverpool 2-1 Sheffield United
- Southampton 2-0 Everton
- Wolves 1-1 Newcastle United
- Arsenal 0-1 Leicester City
- Brighton and Hove Albion 1-1 West Bromwich Albion
- Burnley 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur
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