Liverpool and Manchester City both cruised to UEFA Champions League wins on Wednesday but as ever, it was the starting XIs and injury news that was of more interest to Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers than the results.
There is also fitness news to report from Chelsea and Manchester United, who contested Champions League group matches on Tuesday, and Leicester City and West Ham United, who are in Europa League action on Thursday.
Diogo Jota’s game-time prospects may have been given a short-term lift at Anfield on Wednesday as Roberto Firmino, Jota’s main rival for the central role in the Reds’ attacking trident, limped out of the win over Atletico with a hamstring injury.
While we await a full prognosis, a Gameweek 11 start – at the very least – for Jota looks more likely given the swift turnaround times between games on the continent and on the domestic front.
“If Bobby Firmino wouldn’t have gone off with a hamstring injury, [the night] would have been much better.” – Jurgen Klopp
Klopp also confirmed that Sadio Mane was withdrawn at half-time to avoid him picking up a second yellow card, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is “fine” after his substitution.
Curtis Jones and Joe Gomez missed the match with eye and calf problems respectively.
Manchester City have had a good run with injuries over recent weeks but Kyle Walker (knock) is a fresh concern for the Manchester derby, so Oleksandr Zinchenko will be on standby for a recall if Joao Cancelo‘s services are needed at right-back.
“We are going to review the players… especially Kyle [Walker] because he has a big kick in his foot.” – Pep Guardiola
Earlier in the day, Manchester United confirmed that Raphael Varane will not only miss the Manchester derby but also around a month of first-team involvement after suffering a hamstring injury in Tuesday’s draw with Atalanta.
Chelsea were also in action on Tuesday, with Mason Mount still not well enough to be involved following his recent illness. Mount subsequently returned to training on Thursday. Injury victims Romelu Lukaku, Mateo Kovacic and Timo Werner were absent as expected – they are all anticipated to make a playing comeback after the international break – while N’Golo Kante was left out as a precaution.
Ahead of Thursday’s Europa League matches, the typically vague David Moyes reported the usual “knocks and niggles” for West Ham United.
“We’ve got a couple of knocks and niggles behind the scenes which we’ll have to manage. Not serious, but just the odd one we might miss tomorrow.” – David Moyes
Andriy Yarmolenko and Nikola Vlasic were subsequently absent from the matchday squad.
Brendan Rodgers was a little more specific on the fitness front as Leicester prepare to face Spartak Moscow.
“Ricardo has joined back in with the medical team, he’s been outside, but if he’s not ready for tomorrow, he should be ready for the weekend.
“We’ve had a few players with the sickness bug that’s going about, but we’ll just have to assess that and see where they’re at. If they’re not available, I’d expect them to be okay for the weekend. It’s Harvey Barnes, James Maddison and James Justin. [Justin] has been back training with the group and he wouldn’t have been available for the game anyway, but those three guys have unfortunately been down for a few days. They’re coming around now, but whether they’re going to be at their best level for tomorrow, we’ll have to wait and see, but if not they’ll be back ready for the weekend.
“Ayo [Perez] is in the squad so he’s fine after the bug he had. Marc [Albrighton] is a few weeks away. He’s out on the grass with our medical and rehabilitation team, which is good, but he’s still a few weeks away.” – Brendan Rodgers
MIDWEEK LINE-UPS AND MINUTES PLAYED
Thanks to the excellent Anna Woodberry for the below graphics and line-up information for the four clubs who have already been in European action in midweek (click the images to expand).
CHANGES FROM GAMEWEEK 10
- Chelsea (3): Azpilicueta, Alonso and Loftus-Cheek in for James, Chilwell and Kante
- Man Utd (3): Bailly, Pogba and Rashford in for Lindelof, Fred and Cavani
- Liverpool (5): Matip, Tsimikas, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho and Jota in for Konate, Robertson, Keita, Jones and Firmino
- Man City (3): Stones, Gundogan and Mahrez in for Dias, De Bruyne and Jesus
THURSDAY’S PRESS CONFERENCES
- Dean Smith – 9.30am
- Sean Dyche – 1.15pm
- Graham Potter – 1.30pm
- Ralph Hasenhuttl – 1.30pm
- Thomas Frank – 4pm
- Brendan Rodgers – post-Europa League
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