Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
- Goals: Diogo Jota (£6.6m)
- Assists: Sadio Mané (£11.8m)
- Bonus points: Trent Alexander-Arnold x3 (£7.3m), Alisson x2 (£5.9m), Ozan Kabak x1 (£5.0m)
JOT THAT DOWN
Diogo Jota (£6.6m) is already proving he can offer Fantasy Premier League again after he scored in Liverpool’s Gameweek 28 trip to Molineux.
His first-half effort was his fifth goal across his last 10 Premier League appearances for the Reds, more than any colleague across theirs.
During the same run, Mohamed Salah (£12.4m) has found the net four times while Sadio Mané (£11.8m) and Roberto Firmino (£9.1m) combine for two.
A recent injury to the latter has arguably helped Jota’s fortunes in the last two matches, the former Wolves man playing each of those two as the central figure of Liverpool’s front three, with Salah and Mané on either side.
It is worth adding that a prolonged wait between the Reds’ Monday-night trip to Wolves and a Gameweek 30 visit to Arsenal is likely to be long enough for Firmino to recover from his current knock – so keeping an eye on his fitness could be important for anyone considering Jota.
While he does not have a fixture in Blank Gameweek 29, he is sure to be on the Fantasy radar considering the nature of Liverpool’s fixtures after the international break.
Between Gameweeks 30 and 38, only Wolves are ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s men for attacking potential on the Fantasy Football Scout Season Ticker.
Aston Villa, Newcastle, Southampton and Crystal Palace are due to visit Anfield while Liverpool face trips to Arsenal, Leeds, Manchester United and Burnley.
Meanwhile, Liverpool have now lost six in a row at Anfield but their recent away form is still worth noting.
They have won four of their last five road trips, particularly encouraging considering three of their next five Premier League matches are away from Anfield.
Against Wolves, Klopp was finally able to field Fabinho (£5.4m) in midfield after extensive time at centre-back this season.
As was the case against RB Leipzig in the Champions League, the Liverpool manager trusted Ozan Kabak (£5.0m) and Nathaniel Phillips (£4.0m) at centre-back, a pairing that has now kept two clean sheets from a possible two.
Virgil van Dijk (£6.2m), Joe Gomez (£5.2m) and Joel Matip (£5.4m) remain long-term absentees for Liverpool so, if Fabinho can continue to add a stabling influence from midfield, and help keep them in possession, Fantasy managers could consider the two budget centre-backs for those aforementioned appealing fixtures.
“Fabinho (in midfield) gives us a lot of things. Pretty much everything you saw in the Champions League game. In the one-one-on situations, organising-wise without talking a lot but being there in the right spaces and giving other players the opportunity to be slightly higher, slightly wider, all this kind of things. When we all press together, he wins decisive challenges as well.” – Jurgen Klopp
Fabinho’s return to midfield also allowed Liverpool to display signs of their former selves going forward.
While the Reds have looked devoid of ideas on more than one occasion in 2021, they showed some promising sparks at Molineux even in an admittedly cagey affair.
In the 12th minute, Mané managed to get in behind the Wolves defence and go one-on-one with Rui Patrício (£5.3m). He took it around the goalkeeper pulling himself a bit too far wide but it was encouraging to see Liverpool try to make use of space on the shoulder of centre-backs again.
In the 37th minute, Liverpool played a ball up to Salah on the right-hand side, who tucked the ball into Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.3m). His first-time cross was almost psychically read by Mané who connected with a diving header that only just drifted around the outside of Patrício’s post.
And Liverpool’s opening goal was also indicative of the danger on offer in Liverpool’s front three. Salah squared to Mané who poked it onto Jota for a fierce shot onto the inside of Patrício’s side-netting.
Liverpool were less dangerous in the second half but their recent form might perhaps forgive their desire to close out the win rather than overstretch themselves for a second goal.
Salah probably had their best chance of the second period after he went through on goal and forced Patrício to save low from a wide-angle.
He also converted from an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£6.3m) pass in the 86th minute only to see it correctly ruled out for offside.
SOLVING THE COAD
Despite scoring only two points against Liverpool, Conor Coady (£4.8m) continued to display his Fantasy potential.
He had one of Wolves’ best chances to score on Monday night, heading a Romain Saïss (£4.9m) cross over the bar in the 48th minute.
As previously documented, Coady has recently discovered a newfound penalty-box presence from set pieces that indicates he can be a viable FPL asset for the remainder of the campaign.
In the four matches prior to Gameweek 28, Coady registered two big chances, the second-highest total among defenders over the same period.
Furthermore, as mentioned earlier in this article, Wolves have appealing fixtures between now and the end of the campaign.
When sorting the Fantasy Football Scout Season Ticker for defensive potential between Gameweeks 30 and 38, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men rank third.
Particular highlights during that run include trips to Fulham and West Bromwich Albion while low-scoring Sheffield United and Burnley come to Molineux in Gameweeks 31 and 32 respectively.
Coady is, of course, the most nailed-on option in Wolves’ trio of centre-backs, Willy Boly‘s (£5.4m) return to the side ending Leander Dendoncker‘s (£4.6m) run of six successive Premier League starts.
Still, it is worth keeping an eye on Wolves’ ability to keep clean sheets before investing in that run. They have recorded three shut-outs in their last seven league outings and now face the possibility of a long-term absence for Patrício.
An unfortunate collision with Coady in the closing stages of Monday’s game left the goalkeeper with a head injury that required extensive treatment on the pitch. Budget option John Ruddy (£4.3m) was his replacement.
Wolverhampton Wanderers XI (3-4-3): Patrício; Saïss, Coady, Boly; Jonny, Moutinho, Neves (Dendoncker 75’0, Semedo (Gibbs-White 84′); Neto, Willian J (F Silva 70′), A Traoré.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Robertson, Kabak, N Phillips, Alexander-Arnold; Thiago (Keïta 67′), Wijnaldum (Milner 67′), Fabinho; Mané, Jota (Oxlade-Chamberlain 81′), Salah.
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