We assess the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Newcastle United v Liverpool in our first Gameweek 24 Scout Notes.
The numbers and graphics 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.
DARWIN INJURY LATEST
Darwin Nunez (£8.7m) scored his first Premier League goal since November but the good news ended there for the Uruguayan striker, as a shoulder injury cut short his evening on Tyneside.
Darwin’s current and prospective owners in FPL face a nervous wait to see how serious the issue is ahead of Double Gameweek 25 but we may at least find out earlier than Friday’s pre-match press conference, as Jurgen Klopp will face the media both before and after Tuesday’s Champions League tie against Real Madrid.
“The bad news [is] Darwin has something on his shoulder. We will see. In that situation I don’t know what he [the referee] whistled there against him, to be honest.
“In the end, he had to go off with a shoulder issue. We need further assessment; I don’t know in the moment. In the moment is it painful, but hopefully it’s just painful and not more.” – Jurgen Klopp on Darwin Nunez
Even if Darwin is out, competition for game-time in the front three has hotted up with the returns to fitness of Diogo Jota (£8.8m) and Roberto Firmino (£8.0m), both of whom got over half an hour to work on their match-sharpness here.
LIVERPOOL’S GAMEWEEK 25 AUDITION
We’ll get another look at Liverpool in the midweek clash against Madrid before Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) take centre stage in Double Gameweek 25, when they face Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The trip to Newcastle was also an audition of sorts ahead of Friday’s FPL deadline.
A 2-0 win against a side previously unbeaten at home all season, with attacking returns for all of the front three and Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.3m), sounds pretty good on paper.
But there are still one or two question marks about this Liverpool side, particularly at the back where they allowed the 10 men of Newcastle multiple chances. The Magpies twice hit the woodwork after Nick Pope‘s (£5.5m) dismissal, while substitute Callum Wilson (£7.0m) squandered a great opportunity, Fabian Schar (£5.2m) nodded wide from six yards and Alexander Isak (£6.6m) blazed over when well positioned. Miguel Almiron (£5.6m) had earlier spurned a clear opening before Pope was sent off.
Liverpool themselves didn’t create much at all for an hour after the red card (a flurry of chances arrived late on) but perhaps one eye was on energy preservation ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League tie.
Onto the positives, though, and the goals themselves, scored by Darwin and Cody Gakpo (£7.7m), were well-fashioned and assisted brilliantly by Alexander-Arnold and Salah.
Liverpool’s clean-sheet prospects still look iffy from week to week but Andrew Robertson (£6.8m) and Alexander-Arnold in particular are starting to rediscover their attacking swagger, with seven chances created between them on Tyneside.
Salah is the big question for many FPL managers ahead of Double Gameweek 25, and there’ll be plenty of column inches devoted to him in the coming days. He didn’t have a single shot in the box against Newcastle, although that’s ignoring the fact that he would have had a gilt-edged chance had Pope not handled outside his area.
WHICH GAME WILL POPE MISS?
Newcastle take a backseat in FPL until Gameweek 26 now, as their participation in the EFL Cup final next Sunday leaves them without a Premier League fixture.
The good news for Pope’s owners in FPL is that the goalkeeper will be back for that Gameweek 26 trip to Manchester City, as his one-match ban for the denial of a goalscoring opportunity will be served in the cup final – hence the lack of a red flag.
The Magpies were uncharacteristically carved open with ease for Liverpool’s two goals but the good news is that they now get Bruno Guimaraes (£5.5m) back from suspension, as his presence has been sorely missed at either end of the pitch.
They also rallied brilliantly after Pope’s dismissal, a sign of the progress made under Howe.
“I thought the reaction to that sending-off was brilliant from the team. I thought we stayed in the game and were competitive, we created chances and I felt if we could get the next goal we had a route back into the game but that never happened.” – Eddie Howe
Newcastle rise up the Season Ticker from Gameweek 27 onwards, with a guaranteed fixture in Blank Gameweek 28 and a very likely Double Gameweek 29 also in their favour.
Allan Saint-Maximin (£6.1m) is one to monitor for differential-seekers, as he was absolutely electric against Liverpool, forcing Alisson (£5.4m) to tip an effort onto the bar and providing the big chance that Almiron spurned. After a rusty return to the starting XI in Gameweek 22, he’s rapidly improved.