West Bromwich Albion 1 Liverpool 2
- Goals: Hal Robson-Kanu (£5.2m) | Mohamed Salah (£12.8m), Alisson, yes Alisson (£5.9m)
- Assists: Matheus Pereira (£5.4m) | Sadio Mane (£11.7m), Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.7m)
- Bonus Points: Salah x3, Alisson x2, Alexander-Arnold x1
Match-winning Alisson (£5.9m) grabbed the headlines, but the main Fantasy story was of business as usual for the prolific and popular Mohamed Salah (£12.8m).
Liverpool kept their late charge for a Champions League place on track thanks to their goalkeeper’s headed winner from a Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.7m) corner.
It was an incredible, emotional event.
Meanwhile, back in the more hard-headed realms populated by the top 10,000 Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers, the vast majority were probably more concerned that the Brazilian’s heroics might deny their man (and captain) Salah only a fourth maximum bonus award of the season.
At the final whistle, though, the 39.7%-owned Egyptian walked off with top bonus points thanks to a first double-digit haul since Gameweek 21, the current high-point of a run involving six returns from the last seven matches.
Salah scored the equaliser at The Hawthorns, one of four shots he had on the day, three of which were on target. He also created four chances and was well worth those extra three points.
But he was not even Liverpool’s leading attacker on the day. Salah shared joint-top spot for shots with the unlikely duo of Thiago (£5.5m) and Alexander-Arnold.
That pair also led the way for chances created, with five apiece, while the busy full-back put over a match-leading 16 crosses.
Liverpool are now back within touching distance of a top-four finish and will almost certainly need to beat both Burnley and Crystal Palace to have a chance of achieving that.
Salah looks like being a must-own for that run-in, while Alexander-Arnold is back to his brilliant best, with just one blank in an eight-match run that’s involved three clean sheets, four assists and a goal.
And the 1.1%-owned Thiago could be a cheap and cheeky differential for mini-league managers needing a punt.
Two players who will not be in Liverpool’s side for the rest of this season are Diogo Jota (£7.0m) and Ozan Kabak (£5.0m), as manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed post-match:
Diogo, I don’t know actually. It is a little bone in the foot and we have to see. I think he will now be in a boot for two weeks or so. Ozan, no. No for the long-term, Ozan isn’t in the long-term (injuries) but nobody is coming back, I think.Jurgen Klopp
Sadio Mané (£11.7m) replaced Jota against the Baggies, set up Salah’s equaliser and is surely a shoo-in for the final two fixtures.
Defensively, the Reds were poor against West Brom, with Nathaniel Phillips (£4.1m) looking particularly sketchy at times, so it wasn’t overly surprising the home team scored, courtesy of veteran striker Hal Robson-Kanu (£5.2m).
He was set up by the ever-excellent Matheus Pereira (£5.4m), who has now recorded five goals and three assists across the last seven Gameweeks.
A finish of West Ham at home and Leeds away is not the easiest, but Pereira’s form is almost fixture-proof at present.
West Brom XI (4-4-1-1): Johnstone; Furlong, Bartley, Ajayi, Townsend; Diangana (Maitland-Niles 73), Yokuslu (Livermore 75), Phillips, Gallagher; Pereira; Robson-Kanu (Grant 82).
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, R Williams (Wijnaldum 84), Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Jones (Shaqiri 59); Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Everton 0 Sheffield United 1
- Goal: Daniel Jebbison (£4.5m)
- Assist: Jack Robinson (£4.2m)
- Bonus Points: Robinson x3, Aaron Ramsdale (£4.6m) x2, Jebbison x1
Everton’s awful home form was in evidence once again as 17-year-old striker Daniel Jebbison (£4.5m) earned Sheffield United a rare good memory from an otherwise forgettable campaign.
The teenager marked his first league start for the club with an early match-winner.
But it was the Toffees’ travails that troubled many FPL managers as well-owned assets Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m/34%) and Lucas Digne (£6.2m/12.5%) blanked in a game that was anticipated to bring in good returns.
Instead, it reaped Everton a ninth defeat of the season at Goodison Park – they haven’t won at home since Gameweek 26 – which doesn’t bode well for the visit of Wolves on Wednesday.
After that, it’s a trip to Manchester City, a tricky one to call when Pep Guardiola’s players will either be keen to avoid getting injured before, or desperate to earn a place in, the Champions League final that comes just six days later.
Calvert-Lewin came into the Blades clash with two goals from his previous three starts and he and fellow striker Richarlison (£7.8m), who has managed just one assist in ten matches, were denied by a brilliant double save from Aaron Ramsdale (£4.6m).
The United keeper was a busy man, making six saves on his way to a fourth clean sheet of the season, although his stops were either outstanding or routine, with nothing in between.
Everton’s performance was probably best summed up by James Rodriguez (£7.7m), who returned to the side after a three-match absence and promptly blanked for a fourth straight time.
The 8%-owned midfielder created two chances and fired in one shot during his 78 minutes on the pitch – stats either equalled or bettered by Gylfi Sigurdsson (£6.9m), who only played the second half.
Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti described the performance as his side’s worst of the season, before injecting some hope and ambition into the final two fixtures:
We have two games to the end. The next one we will have fans and maybe they can help us wake up. We have to try to win the two games and see if we are in Europe or not.Carlo Ancelotti
As for the Blades, two wins from the last four matches – both involving clean sheets – might just tempt a risky investment or two in their players ahead of a perfectly reasonable schedule involving Newcastle away and Burnley at home.
Ramsdale was superb, but he’s not the cheapest way into a defence that is still far from rock solid.
Instead, Jack Robinson (£4.2m), who made a first start since Gameweek 16, offers value and some (instant) form involving a clean sheet, an assist and maximum bonus.
At the other end, 172 prescient FPL managers tapped into Jebbison’s magic moment and he was bullish post-match:
It’s only the start, there’s loads more to come.Daniel Jebbison
As yet, there hasn’t been a transfer stampede for him, though he has added 1,271 extra managers following his performance, whereas team-mate Rhian Brewster (£4.2m) has 3,750 more bosses to his name for Gameweek 37 even though he almost certainly won’t play.
Everton XI (3-4-2-1): Pickford; Holgate (Sigurdsson 45), Keane, Godfrey; Coleman, Doucoure (Gomes 78), Allan, Digne; Rodriguez (Bernard 78), Richarlison; Calvert-Lewin.
Sheffield Utd XI (3-4-3): Ramsdale; Basham, Egan, Robinson; Baldock, Stevens, Osborn, Norwood; Fleck, Jebbison, McGoldrick.
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