Two more pre-season friendlies took place on Wednesday and we’ve got all the goal, assist and line-up information as well as the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points in this latest Scout Notes article.
We’re also keeping tabs on the minutes played in all of these warm-up fixtures, with Premium Members of Fantasy Football Scout able to access this information at the bottom of this article.
RB SALZBURG 1-0 LIVERPOOL
Jurgen Klopp named a mostly second-string Liverpool side for Wednesday’s defeat to RB Salzburg, with Darwin Nunez (£9.0m) in the line-up.
Whether that means anything for the Uruguayan’s Gameweek 1 starting prospects remains to be seen, as Jurgen Klopp had also initially selected Roberto Firmino (£8.0m) alongside Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) and Luis Diaz (£8.0m) in last week’s thrashing of RB Leipzig – a match that Darwin scored four goals in as a substitute.
Two more Reds matches are to come before we reach Gameweek 1, starting with the Community Shield on Saturday, so we’ll have more selection information to go off by the time next Friday comes around.
Darwin and the rest of his teammates drew a blank in Austria, although the new signing struck the bar and had another big chance blocked by a last-gasp tackle. The positive takeaway is that the openings kept coming, as they did in his previous pre-season appearances, even if Klopp was unhappy at the support his new striker was receiving.
“We set the boys up and it’s all fine, they can do much better and they had good moments as well. But especially the first half, the majority of players have to get used to what we do. Darwin was much too often alone. Everybody dropped, everybody was involved in the build-up but too wide and we could only pass the ball to Darwin in the box. He had his moments and nearly scored, but he needs much more support around him. You keep other players busy that they cannot focus on him. So many things.
“Second half, imagine now Darwin would have been there in the box, that would have helped as well. It is like it is – doesn’t feel great, but we take it and go from here.” – Jurgen Klopp
Most of the big guns entered the fray on the hour-mark, with the team that ended the match probably the one we will see against Manchester City this weekend.
Liverpool’s threat predictably ratcheted up a notch after the first-team regulars were introduced, with Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m), Firmino, Salah and Diaz all forcing saves as the pressure mounted.
There was still no Alisson (£5.5m), who hasn’t featured since the defeat to Manchester United earlier this month, although Klopp did say he was “close” ahead of the Salzburg match:
“Obviously Diogo [Jota] is not here, that’s clear, but from the boys who are injured but are here, Ali is the closest – definitely not for Salzburg but then we will see. He is close to get back I think.” – Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool XI: Adrian, Mabaya (Alexander-Arnold 60), Konate (Matip 60), Gomez (Van Dijk 60), Milner (Robertson 46), Bajcetic (Fabinho 60), Keita (Morton 46, Henderson 60), Jones (Thiago 60), Elliott (Salah 60), Carvalho (Diaz 60), Nunez (Firmino 46)
SOUTHAMPTON 3-1 MONACO
- Goals: A Armstrong, S Armstrong, Ward-Prowse
- Assists: Elyounoussi, Aribo, Walker-Peters
No matter what the official Southampton website might try and tell you about their side’s starting formation, Ralph Hasenhuttl persisted with his pre-season 3-5-2 experiment in Wednesday’s win over Monaco and finally saw his side emerge as victors.
“It was a good test for us and we tried to play football, we tried to press high with this shape and there were some interesting performances from some players, I must say. We can see that the goals are there and that’s what we wanted. The young players are pushing and the older, more experienced players are stepping up.
“Especially after the first games that haven’t been so good, I must say, trying to find the way with this formation and shape, it is getting better and better.” – Ralph Hasenhuttl
The game also marked the return to action of Romain Perraud (£4.5m) and Nathan Redmond (£5.5m), both making their first appearances of pre-season as wing-backs, while the recently returned James Ward-Prowse (£6.5m) built up his own fitness with a second-half cameo and trademark strike from distance.
Ward-Prowse is certainly one potential beneficiary of this formation change: already such a threat from set plays and penalty kicks, the midfielder will be allowed a little more freedom to get forward in open play as an ‘eight’ rather than a ‘six’ of the old system – something underscored by his goal on Wednesday.
Adam Armstrong (£5.5m) prodded in from close range to equalise after Saints had conceded the opening goal, with FPL midfielders Joe Aribo (£5.5m) and Stuart Armstrong (£5.0m) later being deployed ‘out of position’ up top – not for the first time this season in either case – and combining for the hosts’ second strike.
“As a striker, he has more freedom for what he can do. He was driving with the ball. It’s not so dangerous when he loses it because you have enough players to defend. I like this position for him.” – Ralph Hasenhuttl on Stuart Armstrong, July 23
New striker Sekou Mara (£5.5m) will make his debut this weekend against Villarreal and will soon provide more orthodox competition to Adam Armstrong and Che Adams (£6.5m) in attack.
Southampton XI (3-5-2): McCarthy; Valery (Bednarek 89), Lyanco (Bella-Kotchap 77), Stephens; Perraud (Djenepo, 46); Diallo, Romeu, Elyounoussi (Aribo 65), Redmond (S. Armstrong 70); Adams (Ward-Prowse 65), A. Armstrong (Walker-Peters 65)
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