The key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from two of Sunday’s Gameweek 4 fixtures are covered here.
Liverpool v Aston Villa and Crystal Palace v Wolverhampton Wanderers are the games in question.
ALEXANDER-ARNOLD INJURY UPDATE
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.9m) claimed his first assist of the season on Sunday but limped off in the 71st minute, having injured his hamstring.
Up until that point, he was superb, pulling the strings from the middle of the park and spraying numerous passes over the top of Aston Villa’s high defensive line.
Inverting from right-back into central areas, Alexander-Arnold created a match-high five chances and had two shots.
However, he is now set for a scan to determine the extent of the injury, leaving him a major doubt for England duty next week.
Jurgen Klopp said:
“I don’t know exactly. I asked him, he said it’s [his] hamstring. Not too serious’ is his opinion, but we obviously have to wait for the scans and then we will know more.” – Jurgen Klopp
In addition to his assist and bonus, Alexander-Arnold also claimed a clean sheet, which came as a bit of a surprise, given that Liverpool were without first-choice centre-halves Virgil van Dijk (£6.0m) and Ibrahima Konate (£5.0m).
It means Liverpool were one of just two teams to keep a clean sheet in Gameweek 4, along with Nottingham Forest.
KLOPP ON DARWIN/SALAH
After scoring twice in Liverpool’s 2-1 win at Newcastle United last time out, Darwin Nunez (£7.3m) was given his first start of the season at Anfield on Sunday.
He repaid Jurgen Klopp’s faith by notching two assists, but he really should have scored, striking the woodwork twice, with the second leading to Matty Cash’s (£4.6m) own-goal.
He somehow missed a sitter from six yards out, too, but absolutely loved Villa’s high-line, bullying Pau Torres (£4.5m) throughout.
Darwin’s connection with Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) particularly stood out, with some of their link-up play excellent.
Salah, who is subject of heavy interest from Saudi Pro League club Al-Ittihad, scored in the second half, tapping in at the back post after Darwin flicked on an Andrew Robertson (£6.5m) corner.
It was yet another goal involvement for the Egyptian, who has now scored or assisted in 11 consecutive home Premier League matches, although he’s failed to earn bonus in seven of those outings.
He received minus BPS on Sunday for one shot off target (-1), being tackled (-4) and fouls conceded (-1).
“That was pretty much from the start like this, the two sprinters, they want to know where the other one is. I’m pretty sure Mo told Darwin before the game as well, if a ball comes high, please deflect it, I’m on my bike. Yeah, today the partnership was really good. I liked the line-up today, to be honest. It’s a bit of a problem in my job that we make line-ups before we know if it will work out – but it worked out pretty well. And yeah, really happy for Darwin as well, the performance was exceptional. And we should not forget because it was an own goal or whatever.” – Jurgen Klopp on Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah
Elsewhere, Dominik Szoboszlai (£7.0m) got his first Premier League goal with a beautiful strike from the edge of the box.
As for Aston Villa, it was a day to forget, as their backline again struggled with the high line.
Diego Carlos (£4.5m), who missed almost all of last season through injury, limped off after 19 minutes, which forced a change for Unai Emery. It meant Cash, who started ‘out-of-position’ on the wing, dropped back into a more familiar right-back role.
He still got forward and had a great chance to score early in the second half, mind.
Meanwhile, Moussa Diaby (£6.6m) looked threatening when Villa did progress the ball into the final-third, but Ollie Watkins (£8.0m) was ineffective and replaced on 73 minutes.
EZE FINALLY DELIVERS
Eberechi Eze (£6.3m) had failed to score any of his 16 shots prior to Gameweek 4, but got off the mark with his 18th effort, as he finally delivered on those promising stats against Wolves.
The 25-year-old was the quickest to react to Jean-Philippe Mateta’s (£4.9m) flick-on in the second half, sliding his shot past Jose Sa (£5.0m) to put the Eagles ahead.
He nearly added a second in added time, too, but was thwarted by the Wolves ‘keeper.
Another marauding run forward saw him brought down in the box but harshly denied a penalty despite a VAR check, with his display rightly earning praise from his boss after the full-time whistle:
“He’s a really important player for us. Hopefully he’ll be a good player for England going forward as well, because he does have exceptional talent and in the second-half we saw much more of that talent. He got on the ball a lot more, he got into dangerous positions, and he did then what he’s capable of doing, making life very difficult for opposing defenders. I was delighted for him that he played so well in the second-half and even more delighted he got his first goal.” – Roy Hodgson on Eberechi Eze
BUDGET FORWARDS ON TARGET
£5.5m forwards Odsonne Edouard and Matheus Cunha were both on the scoresheet at Selhurst Park.
Edouard scored his second and third goals of the season, racking up seven shots in the box. It means he’s registered 18 efforts inside the opposition penalty area so far this season, more than any other FPL forward bar Erling Haaland (£14.1m):
His first goal, a smart front-post finish, was followed by an excellent second after linking up well with Mateta, who claimed two assists off the bench.
“He’s very technical. When one talks about good old-fashioned centre-forwards, one thinks about people who are very strong and hold the ball up well, bully centre-halves a little bit and win a lot of headers. That’s not the way he is. He’s got very clever movement and great technical ability. What we’re getting from him is a little bit of that old-fashioned stuff as well because we need that for the focus of our attacking play. He‘s been very good since the start of the season and I was delighted for him he had those two goals today.” – Roy Hodgson on Odsonne Edouard
Cunha, meanwhile, headed in from close range deep into injury time, but it was Pedro Neto (£5.5m) who was Wolves’ best player.
He created two big chances resulting in two assists on Sunday and, starting wide on the left, looked lively throughout.
Elsewhere, Sam Johnstone (£4.5m) started in goal but Dean Henderson (£4.5m), who the Eagles signed on Thursday for a fee that could rise to £20m, was on the bench and will be trying to wrestle the gloves from him going forwards.
Johnstone has conceded four goals in the opening four games – one a penalty – and couldn’t do much about Hwang Hee-Chan (£5.5m) or Cunha’s efforts, also making a good save to push over one of Neto’s shots.
“To some extent, the fact that we conceded in the 96th minute summed up a little bit how we were today: we were nowhere near what we’d like to be, or think we’re capable of being, but on the other hand, to win matches and get three points is such a difficult thing to do in the Premier League and you should never be too critical.” – Roy Hodgson