The Gameweek 3 reaction continues as we discuss the main Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Newcastle United v Liverpool.
Anthony Gordon (£5.5m) opened the scoring in the first half after capitalising on an error by Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.9m), before Virgil van Dijk (£6.0m) was sent off just a few minutes later.
However, Liverpool, somehow, nicked a win from nowhere after substitute Darwin Nunez (£7.3m) struck twice late on.
BOTMAN’S ANKLE ISSUE
Sven Botman (£4.5m) was withdrawn through injury in the closing stages against Liverpool.
The Dutchman limped off with an ankle issue after landing awkwardly, forcing Eddie Howe into a late reshuffle, which saw Dan Burn (£4.5m) move to centre-half and Matt Targett (£4.4m) come on at left-back.
Discussing Botman’s injury, Eddie Howe said:
“It looks like an ankle problem. I don’t know how bad it is. I wish him a speedy recovery.” – Eddie Howe on Sven Botman
Once next weekend’s trip to Brighton and Hove Albion is out of the way, Newcastle’s much-anticipated fixture swing kicks in.
From Gameweeks 5 to 10, they sit top of the ticker:
Many Fantasy managers will be eyeing up their assets, particularly their defenders if Botman’s injury isn’t too serious.
However, it’s worth noting they have kept only two clean sheets in their last 20 Premier League matches, a run that has seen them concede 24 goals.
Still, the underlying numbers have generally been good.
For example, they’ve allowed just three big chances so far this season, while their 3.65 expected goals conceded (xGC) ranks sixth among all top-flight sides (see below). That’s despite facing Aston Villa, Manchester City and Liverpool in the first three Gameweeks.
WHY JOTA WAS BENCHED
Diogo Jota (£8.0m) was benched for Liverpool at St James’ Park, having been unable to train on Saturday due to a cold.
However, the changes Jurgen Klopp made worked perfectly, as he threw on Jota and Darwin on 58 and 77 minutes respectively. Both players helped give the Reds a more forward-thinking approach, with Jota belatedly awarded the assist for Darwin’s equaliser.
Speaking before the match, Klopp said the following on why he chose Cody Gakpo (£7.4m) over Jota:
“Diogo [Jota] couldn’t train yesterday when we had a really important session from a tactical point of view. He had a little cold or whatever like a few players during the week.” – Jurgen Klopp on Diogo Jota
Before adding in his post-match interview:
“Diogo [Jota] is a top player. He was ill two days again, he might have started or not, who knows, but he is a top player coming on.” – Jurgen Klopp on Diogo Jota
As for Darwin, he was wasteful in front of goal last year but lethal here, claiming 11 points. On whether the Uruguayan, the second most-sold forward this season, has done enough to start Liverpool’s Gameweek 4 meeting with Aston Villa, Klopp said:
“I never made a decision about the line-up the week before the game, we will see. But you can have worse arguments, I would say.” – Jurgen Klopp on Darwin Nunez
Elsewhere, Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) registered his third successive five-point return and has now scored or assisted in each of Liverpool’s last nine Premier League matches.
Meanwhile, van Dijk will miss Gameweek 4 through suspension, with his red card forcing Klopp into an early change at Newcastle. Luis Diaz (£7.7m) was the man sacrificed on 32 minutes to get Joe Gomez (£4.5m) on the pitch.
Newcastle were unchanged for the third match in a row, which meant another start for Gordon on the left wing.
He scored the opener after slotting a shot under Alisson (£5.5m) and had a fantastic all-round game, racking up four shots and two created chances. His current form is keeping Harvey Barnes (£6.5m) out of the starting XI, who had to settle for 18 minutes off the bench in Gameweek 3.
He should have done better when he had an opening to make it 2-0, but chose to take it on himself rather than square it to fellow substitute Callum Wilson (£7.9m).
Meanwhile, Miguel Almiron (£6.4m) was denied by a superb Alisson save in the first half, and hit the base of the post in the second.
Explaining his second-half changes, Eddie Howe said:
“Liverpool are a threat from set-plays, they were putting us under pressure in that moment and we wanted a bit more control. But they’re a very, very dangerous counter-attacking team. I just think back to the game here last year when the roles were reversed. We had 10 men and they had 11 and we played really, really well that day and had the best chances in the game with a man less. It can happen and when you’ve got players like Salah and Nunez on the pitch, they’re a huge transitional threat and we knew that would be the case. That’s why we were desperate for a second goal to kill the match.” – Eddie Howe