FPL review: Salah ends goal drought, Gakpo off the mark

Liverpool v Everton is the focus of our latest Scout Notes piece as we look back on the main Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Anfield.

The numbers you see in this article are taken from our Premium Members Area, where you can access Opta player and team data for every single Premier League fixture this season.

Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) scored his first Premier League goal since Boxing Day in the Merseyside derby.

The Egyptian had gone five games without finding the net prior to Gameweek 23 but rediscovered his rhythm against Everton.

He took five shots in the box, the same amount he managed in his previous four matches combined, with three hitting the target.

Gameweek Opponents Score Shots in the box xG
23 Everton (h) 2-0 5 0.84
22 Wolves (a) 3-0 2 0.16
21 Chelsea (h) 0-0 1 0.05
20 Brighton (a) 3-0 1 0.03
19 Brentford (a) 3-1 1 0.05
18 Leicester (h) 2-1 4 0.99
17 Aston Villa (a) 1-3 3 0.84

Above: Mohamed Salah’s xG shot map GW19-22 (left) v GW23 (right)

It might be too soon to suggest that Salah is ‘back’, yet seeing him on the scoresheet again feels timely with Liverpool’s Double Gameweek 25 on the horizon. As a result, Kevin De Bruyne (£12.4m) owners will surely be eyeing up a switch after the next round of fixtures.

Salah’s breakaway goal – which arrived just 13 seconds after James Tarkowski (£4.2m) had hit the post at the other end – was followed by Cody Gakpo’s (£7.7m) first strike for Liverpool, as he tapped in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s (£7.3m) deflected cross.

The Dutchman has been adapting to the rigours of English football since his January arrival but looked more comfortable playing through the middle, flanked by Salah and Darwin Nunez (£8.7m).

“A good performance. The way he set up the chance for Darwin, he had other moments like this where he came out under pressure and then there was a foul and we got a free-kick. He did extremely well under massive pressure in the centre. In the end, it was not the most difficult goal he ever scored, but it is exactly the goal each striker is dreaming of when it didn’t happen for a while, probably. Both goals were, for both players, really important. The next one who could have needed something like that is probably Darwin; the chance he had was a really good one. Anyway, it was obviously Darwin with an insane run for the first goal and a super pass.” – Jurgen Klopp on the importance of Cody Gakpo getting his first goal for the club

Darwin supplied the assist for the opener but later missed a decent chance and was withdrawn on 69 minutes, as Diogo Jota (£8.8m) made his long-awaited return from injury. Roberto Firmino (£8.0m) also appeared off the bench shortly after, while Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m) was an unused substitute, adding to Liverpool’s depth as we enter this busy stage of the season.

It has been a miserable 2023 for Liverpool so far, with damaging defeats against Brentford, Brighton and Hove Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers, but the ease in which they were able to overcome Everton will give them a lift. A clean sheet is also a welcome sight, given that they have already conceded 28 goals this season, two more than in the entirety of last term when they finished second.

“It felt like us, it looked like us. The result is a massive relief. Tonight everyone starts believing a little bit more again. We have to keep going. The performance was a statement for us that we can do this. We had to play our game and that was pretty much the case for 95 minutes and that’s why we deserved the points. To get out of our situation we need performances. I saw the same [swagger] but we have to prove it. We have to carry on. We were lucky [Tarkowski’s header hit the post]. Darwin full throttle. The second goal was a wonderful counter attack as well. We were so dominant. I don’t know the figures but it must have been 70% possession. The better you play the more likely you will score. The whole performance was extremely important for us because we needed to make a statement.” – Jurgen Klopp

Sean Dyche’s reign as Everton manager got off to a perfect start with a win over Arsenal in Gameweek 22, but they reverted to type at Anfield. They were careless in possession and struggled up front in the absence of Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.9m), who missed out through injury.

Youngster Ellis Simms (£4.5m) replaced him, making only his second Premier League start, but he found it difficult with little service and was eventually withdrawn on the hour mark.

“Great game for his development, it was a tight call on that one with Neal [Maupay] as well with his extra experience. But he is a young man earning his spurs.” – Sean Dyche on Ellis Simms

“We are just watching it and monitoring it, obviously he needs to get himself right, not just the injury but generally. He has had a tough time so we need to monitor him.” – Sean Dyche on Dominic Calvert-Lewin

In truth, the game told us little about Double Gameweek 25 targets, although Tarkowski did hit the post in the first half, having scored from another set-piece situation last time out. As it stands, he is the go-to Everton option at just £4.2m.

The Toffees now have a vital game at home to managerless Leeds United on Saturday, before their Gameweek 25 double-header.

“There is more to come, I’m sure of that but we have got to play as well. The next step is to play and be brave with the ball. We have given a lot of information to the players and it is a lot for them to take in. There is work to be done. Last week we beat Arsenal and I wasn’t jumping for joy. No lack of effort or work ethic, it’s still tough coming here but they [Liverpool] are a great side.” – Sean Dyche

Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson (Milner 80), Bajcetic (Keita 90); Salah (Elliott 90), Darwin (Jota 69), Gakpo (Firmino 80)

Everton XI: Pickford; Coleman, Coady, Tarkowski, Mykolenko; McNeil (Maupay 78), Doucoure, Gueye, Onana (Davies 78), Iwobi; Simms (Gray 61)

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