We assess the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Crystal Palace v Liverpool in our next Gameweek 25 Scout Notes article.
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 (£8.8m) played no part in Liverpool’s drab goalless draw with Crystal Palace on Saturday evening, with the shoulder injury he had sustained a week earlier keeping him sidelined.
The Uruguay international was the most-bought FPL forward of Double Gameweek 25, attracting well over 900,000 new owners, and there are no guarantees that he’ll feature against Wolverhampton Wanderers in midweek, either.
Jurgen Klopp did sound quite positive when asked about his stricken striker shortly before kick-off at Selhurst Park.
“Darwin had the shoulder problem from the Newcastle game, worked out for the Real Madrid game but then got another knock there, felt it again and more.
“So there was no chance for today and hopefully he can be [available] in midweek again.” – Jurgen Klopp on Darwin Nunez, speaking before kick-off
But there was more caution from the Liverpool boss in his post-match press conference, with Klopp saying the Reds would “have to see how long” Darwin’s recovery would take.
“Darwin against Newcastle when he fouled Trippier… yeah, his shoulder, then it was OK with an injection against Madrid because there’s no structural damage, it’s very painful, but the day after the Madrid game he got another knock there and after the game he couldn’t move the arm at all. So, we have to see how long that will take but that was the reason for him, and Joe Gomez had a muscle [injury].” – Jurgen Klopp on Darwin Nunez, speaking after the match
Diogo Jota (£8.8m) took Darwin’s place on the left of the front three on Saturday evening, hitting the post with one of four attempts (a game-high total).
TRENT SUBBED EARLY
Another widely purchased Liverpool asset this week was Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.3m), who at least emerged from the Palace clash with six points.
The right-back was hooked after 70 minutes of the bore draw but Klopp explained after full-time that it was minute management, rather than an injury, that influenced his withdrawal. The Liverpool head coach’s comments also imply that Alexander-Arnold came close to not starting the match.
“It was just clear… Trent plays all the games for us and then we have to make [a decision] from time to time. We thought before the game already is it one too much for him or whatever. But then he started – that’s it. The reason was purely because of that and nothing else.” – Jurgen Klopp on Trent Alexander-Arnold’s substitution
“He was, for sure, in the few games we won he was one of the much, much, much, much better players. It is Trent Alexander-Arnold and if he is not performing, everybody is talking about it. When he is performing, nobody speaks about it apart from when he is involved in goals. He set up super goals in the last few games – Newcastle and I think Everton. He is OK, it is just the amount of games. We took him off and he has a day longer to rest and then he will be fine again.” – Jurgen Klopp on Trent Alexander-Arnold’s ‘form’
Klopp was grilled on Alexander-Arnold’s form and confidence because the defender had turned in another sub-par display at Selhurst Park, not that he was alone.
It’s points and not performances that we Fantasy managers are primarily interested in, of course, and the Liverpool right-back was deprived of a possible double-digit haul when his goalbound free-kick was inadvertently blocked by one of his own teammates, slack-jawed gawker Jordan Henderson (£5.3m). Mohamed Salah (£12.7m) would have claimed the assist for that strike, too.
Speaking of the Egyptian, he was one of the many Liverpool players to fall well short of their best. But even a substandard Salah can still get among the points, and there were fine margins separating a blank from a return at Palace, with FPL’s priciest player smashing the woodwork and seeing a big chance he created for Cody Gakpo (£7.8m) go begging.
While owners of Alexander-Arnold can bemoan the attacking return that never was, they were lucky to get a clean sheet.
This was Liverpool’s third shut-out in as many Premier League matches but make no mistake, it’s been opposition profligacy to mostly thank for that.
Jean-Phillipe Mateta (£5.1m) and Marc Guehi (£4.4m) spurned gilt-edged opportunities on Saturday evening, with seven ‘big chances’ and 3.10 expected goals (xG) coming and going against Everton, Palace and ten-man Newcastle United in Gameweeks 23-25.
There’s little for Marcus Rashford (£7.2m) and Bruno Fernandes (£9.8m) to fear in Gameweek 26, when Manchester United head to Anfield.
PALACE NO PUSHOVERS, ZAHA LATEST
Much is being made of Palace’s eight-match winless run but they’ve exclusively faced top-half teams in that time and drawn five of them, with the attacks of Chelsea, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Brighton and Hove Albion, Brentford and Liverpool mustering only six goals between them.
The fixtures don’t get much easier before the March international break, with a Gameweek 27 double-header against Manchester City and Brighton likely to be a deterrent for FPL managers.
But it’s worth bearing in mind how stubborn they’ve been of late, when weighing up the captaincy credentials of Kaoru Mitoma (£5.3m) and Bukayo Saka (£8.5m) in Gameweeks 27 and 28.
It’s at the other end of the pitch where the Eagles’ problems lie: not one of their FPL forwards has scored a single goal in 2022/23.
Michael Olise (£5.4m) again caught the eye – he’s third among midfielders for chances created in the last six Gameweeks – but when you’ve got Mateta et al on the end of your crosses and passes, the assists probably aren’t going to flow.
Patrick Vieira could at least be boosted by the return of Wilfried Zaha (£7.2m) from injury next weekend, after the Ivorian winger made a comeback to training last week.
“When there are hamstring issues, you want to be 100% sure, you don’t want to take any risks.
“The best decision was to give him another week of training with the team and then he should be OK for the week after.” – Patrick Vieira on Wilfried Zaha