Liverpool 2-1 Aston Villa
- Goals: Mohamed Salah (£12.4m), Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.4m) | Ollie Watkins (£6.5m)
- Assists: Andrew Robertson (£7.1m) | John McGinn (£5.5m)
- Bonus points: Alexander-Arnold x3, Watkins x2, Emiliano Martínez x1 (£5.4m)
Mohamed Salah‘s (£12.5m) Fantasy Premier League revival continued as Liverpool beat Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon.
On the back of an appealing fixture schedule, the Egyptian has earned 180,000 new owners over the last two Gameweeks, rewarding those managers with goals in each round.
In Gameweek 31, he could have produced an even higher score, forcing a strong front-post save out of Emiliano Martínez (£5.4m) in the opening minute as well as pouncing on a Tyrone Mings (£5.4m) mistake a few moments later only to pull it just wide.
While Spurs assets are sure to dominate the Double Gameweek 32 captaincy, Salah may get a look-in as an outside differential armband candidate based on his resurgent form.
Meanwhile, Jota was close to continuing his current goal-scoring run at Anfield, heading over a first-half Andrew Robertson (£7.1m) corner and making enough dangerous runs to suggest he can do further damage across Liverpool’s favourable run of fixtures.
Liverpool remain top of the Season Ticker for attacking potential across the next seven Gameweeks, something which makes a relatively convincing case for owning both Salah and Jota.
Newcastle, Southampton and Crystal Palace are the next three sides to come to Anfield while Liverpool are set to visit Leeds, Manchester United, West Bromwich Albion and Burnley between now and Gameweek 38.
RIGHT BACK AT IT
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.4m) is back in the FPL limelight after recording his second double-digit haul in as many matches against Aston Villa.
It is the first time the right-back has produced such scores back-to-back since Gameweeks 23 and 24 last season, while his points tally since Gameweek 26 of the current campaign is 44 (7.3 points per match).
While he has come under fire from some corners of the media for the defensive part of his game, his Fantasy owners care much more about what he has offered going forward.
As we have become accustomed to seeing again in recent weeks, the England international was a persistent outlet down the right-hand side for Liverpool, coming close to more attacking returns in the first half on Saturday.
Firmino was responsible for turning a shot wide after Alexander-Arnold had set him up, while a Martínez save was all that stopped the defender from dispatching a direct free-kick in the 31st minute.
“I don’t think Trent is in a situation where he has to prove himself constantly on this level, he just has to play good football and he has to prove himself and challenge himself and all these kind of things, but not because of the national team. Just because, as a young player you have to develop and you only make the next step if you really challenge yourself in specific moments. That is what he is doing, by the way. If he is not playing good it’s not that he is not bothered or ‘who cares?’ – no, it is the opposite. So just don’t talk anymore about it. Talk about the game, was he good, but leave the rest around aside.” – Jürgen Klopp
Despite losing 265,000 owners over the last two matches, Ollie Watkins (£6.5m) has now scored in back-to-back games for the fourth time this season.
The intelligent Aston Villa forward pounced at just the right time to open the scoring at Anfield on Saturday afternoon, showing that he does not necessarily require Jack Grealish‘s (£7.5m) presence to show off his gifts and get attacking returns.
Ahead of an expected Double Gameweek, which should feature a meeting with Everton, Watkins has now returned a goal or assist in three of the last four.
Meanwhile, for the second time in that period, the bonus points system rewarded Watkins for his accomplishments, further cementing him as the second-best for points per million spent among all FPL forwards in 2020/21.
It is also worth highlighting his preference for playing Liverpool, something to consider ahead of Villa’s meetings with the Reds in the 2021/22 campaign.
In finding the net at Anfield on Saturday, Watkins became the first player to score as many as four Premier League goals against Liverpool in a season since Andrey Arshavin did so in 2008/09.
Furthermore, no player has scored more goals against reigning English top-flight champions in a single season than Watkins has put past Liverpool this season. His total of four is matched by Sergio Aguero (£10.3m) against Chelsea in 2015/16 and Harry Kane (£11.7m) against Leicester in 2016/17.
Still, anyone looking to invest in the Villa attack with a future Double Gameweek in mind, might want to keep an eye on future team news updates from Dean Smith.
With Morgan Sanson (£5.5m) missing the game with a knee problem, Bertrand Traoré (£5.9m) and Trézéguet (£5.2m) were both forced off through injury at Anfield.
“Unfortunately, (Trézéguet) has gone off injured. We’re a little bit worried to see what the extent of the injury is. He’s a little bit upset, but we’ll see over time.” – Dean Smith
In the final ten minutes of their trip north, Villa were forced to play central midfield academy product Jacob Ramsey (£4.5m) on the right-hand side of an attacking midfield trio which also featured Anwar El Ghazi (£5.2m) on the left and an out-of-form Ross Barkley (£5.9m) at number 10.
Meanwhile, Douglas Luiz (£4.8m) managed to avoid having to come off with a concussion after a translator was able to supervise his conversation with Villa’s club doctor.
“Douglas Luiz’s English isn’t the best. The doctor thought he said he had double-vision but when he came off the translator came down and cleared it up and he was okay to carry on.” – Dean Smith
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Robertson, Kabak (Shaqiri 89′), N Phillips, Alexander-Arnold; Wijnaldum (Thiago 70′), Milner, Fabinho; Jota, Firmino (Mané 75′), Salah.
Aston Villa XI (4-2-3-1): Martínez; Targett, Mings, Konsa, Cash; D Luiz, Nakamba (Barkley 66′); Trézéguet (J Ramsey 82′), McGinn, B Traoré (El Ghazi 68′); Watkins.
Elsewhere in Gameweek 31…
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