Liverpool’s front four toil at Anfield as Newcastle assets creep onto FPL radar |

Liverpool 1-1 Newcastle

  • Goals: Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) | Joe Willock (£4.7m)
  • Assists: Dwight Gayle (£5.9m)
  • Bonus points: Martin Dúbravka x3 (£4.9m), Salah x2, Andrew Robertson x1 (£7.1m)


Fantasy Premier League managers invested in Liverpool assets were left disappointed in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle.

Jurgen Klopp’s men commanded 69% possession and registered 22 shots but found the net just once.

And that outcome was made all the more frustrating considering the wealth of attacking options Klopp fielded against Newcastle.

For only the third time this season, Diogo Jota (£7.1m) joined Mohamed Salah (£12.6m), Sadio Mané (£11.7m) and Roberto Firmino (£9.0m) in the starting XI, operating as a centre-forward while the Brazilian dropped into a creative number 10 role.

“There’s a moment where we can do that. All the boys are fit and in a good shape so we have to give it a proper try.” – Jurgen Klopp

It was a combination that suggested the goals would flow but, after the way Liverpool performed on Saturday, it is perhaps unlikely that we see those four in the starting XI too often between now and the end of the season.

Klopp could have had no complaints with the way they linked up and created chances, so there was no case to argue that Jota, Salah, Mané and Firmino trod on each others’ toes.

The fact that Jota and Mané were especially wasteful with big chances was a big part of why Liverpool were unable to get the three points at Anfield but arguably the biggest issue was their surprising lack of control over the encounter.

That seems like a strange comment to make when the hosts had 69% possession but every time Newcastle got hold of the ball, they were able to breeze through Liverpool’s midfield and ask questions of their own.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

James Milner (£5.3m) was the man to drop out of midfield to accommodate an additional attacker, a move which left Georginio Wijnaldum (£5.3m) and Thiago Alcantara (£5.5m) exposed in transition, especially considering the number of missed chances.

In the end, Klopp grew tired of watching his attackers fluffing their lines and increasing the pressure on midfield and defence, so introduced Milner for Jota in the 58th minute.

After that point, Liverpool naturally created fewer chances as they sought to assert their stamp on the midfield battle instead.

While Newcastle still managed to break through this set-up, it appears Klopp feels control of matches is something for his side to focus on in the coming weeks, which could have some impact on their attacking assets…

“Today then we lose patience in moments like this, it was like, ‘Try here, pass the ball through’ in not necessary moments. It’s not about not creating – no, no, you can create, but without forgetting about the protection to give them then counter-attacks, losing the ball in the wrong moments, there is no need for that, so that’s controlling a game and we didn’t do that well enough, to be honest.” – Jurgen Klopp

“Why it happened (not winning the game), I don’t know. You just have to keep the ball. In a specific way, we don’t fight it. In a position where you dominate the game, have 70% ball, you have to aim for 80% of the ball because Newcastle are going to counter-attack. We create chances and we didn’t score we have to create more. We don’t do that well right now, what can I say? I didn’t see today a team that deserved to play Champions League next year.” – Jurgen Klopp


Mané’s increased promise in recent matches continued into Liverpool’s draw with Newcastle.

The Senegalese international is clearly still lacking in confidence, best evidenced by his hesitancy to shoot first-time when Salah squared to him in the 39th minute, which allowed Martin Dúbravka (£4.8m) to come out and smother.

Mané hooked a Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) cross around the post in the first half before his run down the left required an impressive Dúbravka save to stop a certain goal in the second.

Crucially, Mané was one of Liverpool’s most persistent creators on Saturday afternoon, denied the assist for Salah’s opener only because a defensive touch significantly altered the intended destination of his cross away from Firmino.

And later in the opening period, he provided a fantastic whipped square ball for Jota, who could only find the goalkeeper with his effort.

Mané might also have had a Fantasy assist if the former Wolves man had been more clinical in the 28th minute. He pounced upon a Ciaran Clark (£4.5m) giveaway, his blocked shot falling to Jota who could only scuff wide.


Newcastle continue to impress enough to keep their budget assets on the radar for the final two matches of the season.

They face Sheffield United (home) and Fulham (away) in Gameweeks 37 and 38 respectively after facing Arsenal (home), Leicester (away) and Manchester (home).

Unsurprisingly, Allan Saint-Maximin (£5.1m) passed the eye test once again, thriving in his new blended role of number 10 with a license to roam.

The Frenchman was able to use his pace to good effect at Anfield, seemingly unhampered by the direction to operate in central areas, although there were still long spells in which he got behind Liverpool’s full-backs and high defensive line too.

“We were trying to get behind their high line because they come very high. We were just missing that extra pass but I’m happy with the point.” – Joe Willock

While Saint-Maximin did not manage to involve himself in any goals at Anfield, he still has three attacking returns across his last three starts, an impressive tally for a £5.1m midfielder.

With those appealing fixtures in mind, Joe Willock (£4.7m) is securing a place on the Fantasy radar with his recent displays.

His stoppage-time equaliser on Saturday was his third goal in as many appearances, each one coming as a substitute.

Willock’s last start came in the Blank Gameweek 29 defeat at Brighton but his goal threat could force Steve Bruce’s hand.

“Joe (Willock) won’t enjoy that (being called a super-sub). It’s one of them difficult calls because he’s done very well but, to be fair, the starting team has done very well as well, so I’ve stuck with them.” – Steve Bruce

“That’s (super-sub) not my label. I just trying to give my best even if I only get 10, 15, half-an-hour.” – Joe Willock

Meanwhile, Wilson’s fitness continues to be managed by Bruce, the forward still yet to earn a first Premier League start since his return from injury in Gameweek 31.

“The difficulty with the two of them is they’ve both been out for weeks and weeks, both with muscle injuries. So we’ve just erred on a bit of caution with Callum. Hopefully, he’s nearly there.” – Steve Bruce

Liverpool XI (4-2-3-1): Alisson; Robertson, Kabak, Fabinho, Alexander-Arnold; Thiago (C Jones 77′), Wijnaldum; Mané, Firmino, Salah; Jota (Milner 58′).

Newcastle United XI (3-4-2-1): Dúbravka; Dummett, Clark (Willock 64′), Fernández; Ritchie, S Longstaff, Shelvey, Murphy; Almirón (Gayle 85′), Saint-Maximin; Joelinton (Wilson 59′).

Elsewhere in Blank Gameweek 33

Timo Werner (£9.2m) scored the only goal of Chelsea’s 1-0 win over West Ham, his first in the Premier League since Gameweek 24.

Ben Chilwell (£5.8m), who continues to keep Marcos Alonso (£5.7m) out of the side, got the assist in a closely-fought battle for the top four.

Chelsea got back to their clean-sheet securing ways as Edouard Mendy (£5.2m) and César Azpilicueta (£5.9m) returned to the starting XI, although the former lost one of his points from a stoppage-time yellow card for time wasting.

Jesse Lingard’s (£6.6m) run of reliable FPL delivery came to an end at the London Stadium, the scene of his first blank since Gameweek 23.

That means he has now gone two matches without an attacking return from open play since Aaron Cresswell (£5.7m) sustained a hamstring injury.

Bonus points

  • 3 – Ben Chilwell
  • 2 – Antonio Rüdiger
  • 1 – Thiago Silva

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