FPL notes: Klopp on rotation, Mac Allister injury update

We continue our analysis of the Gameweek 29 Fantasy Premier League (FPL) action in our Scout Notes series.

The focus here is on Chelsea v Liverpool and Bournemouth v Brighton and Hove Albion.

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


Jurgen Klopp made a number of alterations to his Liverpool starting XI for the trip to Stamford Bridge, with Mohamed Salah (£12.8m), Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.3m) and Andrew Robertson (£6.8m) among those dropping to the bench. Another surprise was the absence of Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m), who missed out through illness.

Explaining his decision to rotate and make six changes, Klopp said:

“It didn’t work out in the last weeks so that’s the moment when you have to make changes. Saturday, Tuesday is always something when you have to think about changes. I think things combined a little bit because we are not overly happy. There must be the opportunity for other players.” – Jurgen Klopp

As for van Dijk, he should be back for Gameweek 30, when Liverpool host league-leaders Arsenal on Sunday.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. He was ill but until the weekend we have a few days.” – Jurgen Klopp on Virgil van Dijk

Despite making those changes, which saw Diogo Jota (£8.7m), Darwin Nunez (£8.8m) and Roberto Firmino (£8.0m) line up in attack, it failed to have the desired effect, as the Reds were unable to seriously trouble Chelsea ‘keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga (£4.7m).

It means Klopp’s side have scored just 14 goals in 15 away league fixtures this campaign. Fortunately, five of their next seven games are at Anfield, where they have performed much better.

“At home our record is not as bad as away so we showed tonight we show we really care and we really want it. Anfield is waiting for us and we want to deliver.” – Jurgen Klopp looking ahead to Sunday’s Arsenal match

Salah, meanwhile, appeared as a 65th-minute substitute, replacing Firmino, but struggled to get involved, making just 13 touches.


Bruno Saltor claimed a point in his first game as Chelsea’s interim head coach, but the Blues were once again let down by wasteful finishing.

Despite dominating most of the match, they had goals (correctly) disallowed by Reece James (£5.8m) and Kai Havertz (£7.6m), whilst also missing a number of other opportunities.

It means Chelsea racked up an expected goals (xG) total of 4.33 and had 39 shots in Double Gameweek 29 without finding the net. Havertz was particularly poor, with 1.81 expected goal involvement (xGI) across both matches.

“It’s the execution in front of the goal. They are human beings and the confidence has to be there. We just need to keep helping the boys. They’ve been through a lot, as well – it’s been a tough season for them. I know they missed chances but what they could affect the most was the attitude and the effort, which was there. They score a lot of goals in training. But coming into a game is completely different. It’s something we have been working on but we need to keep going.” – Bruno Saltor

Tactically, Bruno added an additional midfielder, switching to a 3-5-2 formation and using James as a wing-back.

Above: How Chelsea lined up v Liverpool (3-5-2)

Kepa (1); Fofana (33), Koulibaly (26), Cucurella (32); James (24), Kante (7), Enzo (5), Kovacic (8), Chilwell (21); Havertz (29), Felix (11)

Explaining the changes, Bruno said:

“It was a four in midfield because Joao [Felix] was more of a 10. It was a little bit more like a diamond and it’s something that before we’ve been working on, trying to understand the spaces. I thought the boys did it really well, we had good possession, we had counter-attacks, I think we affected the game good enough. It’s not been a massive change, just obviously personnel and Kante affects the game a lot.” – Bruno Saltor


Evan Ferguson (£4.6m) marked his return to Brighton’s starting XI by scoring the opener at Bournemouth, with a clever finish from Kaoru Mitoma’s (£5.6m) pass.

It means the Japan international has now returned in five straight Premier League games and ends Double Gameweek 29 as Albion’s top-scoring player on 14 points. That’s despite registering a lower xGI than six teammates across the two matches, including Solly March (£5.1m), Pascal Gross (£5.4m) and Alexis Mac Allister (£5.5m).

The 2-0 win moves Brighton into sixth, four points behind Tottenham Hotspur in fourth with two games in hand, who they visit on Saturday. Confidence will be sky-high in the Seagulls camp, too: they have lost just once in 2023, last suffering defeat on the road all the way back in Gameweek 13.

On why Brighton have such a good away record, Roberto De Zerbi said:

“In terms of quality of performances, they are same home and away. Maybe there is more space, my players are fantastic because they have character to play away like they do at home. We have to keep our mentality and humility, but we want to dream and to try to achieve Europe.” – Roberto De Zerbi


Moises Caicedo (£5.0m) and Mac Allister are vital components of Brighton’s midfield, but there was some concern at the Vitality Stadium as they were both forced off.

However, De Zerbi has since confirmed neither injury is serious.

“It is not a big problem [for Caicedo] and the same for Alexis [Mac Allister]. He had a small problem at the end of the first half and I didn’t want to take any risks as both are very important and I didn’t want to lose them.” – Roberto De Zerbi on Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister

A spell on the sidelines for Caicedo could potentially have had implications for Mac Allister, who may have been moved into a deeper-lying midfield role in his absence, yet it appears there is nothing for his owners to worry about.