The Fantasy Premier League (FPL) lessons from two of Sunday’s matches are covered in our Scout Notes article.
Liverpool v Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion v Sheffield United are the fixtures in question.
FRUSTRATION FOR TSIMIKAS SELLERS
Kostas Tsimikas (£4.6m) made plenty of FPL managers regret their decision to sell him with a bumper haul in Gameweek 12.
The Liverpool left-back, who had been benched at Kenilworth Road in Gameweek 11 and then hauled off at half-time in midweek, returned to the starting XI against Brentford, with positional rival Joe Gomez (£4.5m) missing out through injury.
Tsimikas responded in emphatic fashion, earning 15 points courtesy of two assists, a clean sheet and maximum bonus.
Steadier defensively than in Toulouse, the Greek also impressed going forward, with a share of set-pieces contributing to his 10 attempted crosses.
“It was just good, focused, work-rate, and then on top of that playing football and overcoming a little. Kostas Tsimikas, [for] example, we all could see the difference between Kosti before the assist and after the assist. That’s football and that’s life. It’s helpful if you get positive feedback and an assist is obviously positive feedback. So, very important, and a lot of players, actually all players really, performed on a top level today and I’m really happy with that.” – Jurgen Klopp
There were times, especially in the first half, when Brentford cut through Liverpool far too easily, with Bryan Mbeumo (£6.8m) missing the Bees’ best opportunity, but in the end, the Reds had far too much quality in attack.
All four of Cody Gakpo (£7.2m), Mohamed Salah (£12.9m), Diogo Jota (£7.7m) and Darwin Nunez (£7.5m) started, with the former dropping the deepest, playing in the advanced midfield role on the left.
He was the only attacker who failed to return, however, with Salah, Jota and Darwin claiming 16, eight and five points respectively.
As for Salah, he has now scored in all six of Liverpool’s home games this season, which the Reds have won by an aggregate score of 17-2. His last blank at Anfield remarkably arrived in Gameweek 21 of the 2022/23 season, meanwhile.
DARWIN DENIED… BUT MORE POSITIVE SIGNS
Darwin Nunez had a couple of goals disallowed for offside on Sunday but did at least return, setting up Salah for Liverpool’s opener, his fourth assist in five matches.
All of them have been for the Egyptian and it’s clear Darwin is becoming a bit of an all-rounder, capable of contributing goals and assists, which is captured below.
|Total (Rank v other FPL forwards)|
|Shots in the box||3.43 (2nd)|
|Big chances||1.86 (3rd)|
|Chances created||1.14 (7th)|
|Big chances created||0.57 (1st)|
|Non-penalty expected goal involvement (NPxGI)||0.86 (3rd)|
Above: Darwin Nunez v other FPL forwards in 2023/24 per 90 minutes (minimum 500 minutes played)
Here, his hold-up play impressed and he did very well to stretch a disciplined Brentford backline.
His defensive actions were also praised by Jurgen Klopp after the match, which is always good to hear given his previous.
“Top goals, top performances. Darwin’s work rate for example was second to none.” – Jurgen Klopp
“The standout in this defending was really Darwin because it’s all about [that] Brentford wants to play long balls, that’s one thing, but you need to know when, and we can only influence that by one player, when you start the pressing from the centre you have to go for the goalie without getting the ball, they pass to the centre-half and you follow that, so the work-rate was insane.” – Jurgen Klopp
Another start for Darwin in Gameweek 13 is up in the air, however.
Uruguay will play Argentina and Bolivia during the international break, with Liverpool set to visit Manchester City in the early Saturday kick-off on 25th November, which Klopp understandably isn’t too happy about.
Darwin was benched in similar circumstances in Gameweeks 5 and 9, of course.
“OK, no-one can say at the moment but how can you put a game like this on Saturday at 12.30pm? Honestly, the people making the decisions, they cannot feel football, it is just not possible. And if that is the moment where the world pays the most to see a football game then nobody has to tell us. I don’t know if that is the case, I really don’t.
There could have been a moment when you have these two teams who have, all together, about 30 international players. They all come back on the same plane by the way, all the South American players. They all fly back [together], we put them on the plane from Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia. One game, one plane, they all come back. But the start of the season is the start of the season, we just have to make sure we are ready for this game.” – Jurgen Klopp
FERGUSON INJURY LATEST
Evan Ferguson (£6.1m) was a surprise absentee from Brighton’s matchday squad in Gameweek 12, with the Republic of Ireland striker missing out due to a back injury.
The 19-year-old was rested by the Seagulls for their midweek trip to Ajax, where he played 25 minutes as a second-half sub, and had been expected to start against Sheffield United on Sunday.
“He has an injury. He has a problem and we can’t take a risk.” – Roberto De Zerbi
Roberto De Zerbi made six changes to his starting XI in Gameweek 12, with Kaoru Mitoma (£6.6m) dropping to the bench and £5.0m defenders Lewis Dunk and Pervis Estupinan both out, as expected.
The above absentees meant Ansu Fati (£6.5m) earned his first Premier League start, lining up through the middle, but it was fellow attacker Simon Adingra (£5.0m) who impressed most.
Starting off in Mitoma’s left-wing spot, he opened the scoring after a lovely one-two with Facundo Buonanotte (£4.7m). The strike continued Adingra’s excellent form, which has seen him directly involved in five goals in his last seven appearances in all competitions.
Mitoma, along with Joao Pedro (£5.3m), was at least introduced at half-time, with the Japan international’s arrival shifting Adingra back out onto the right wing.
BRIGHTON WINLESS IN SIX
In addition to their never-ending run of injuries, there was more frustration for Brighton after they were held to a draw for the third successive Premier League home game, this time by Sheffield United.
Admittedly, the match was turned on its head when Mahmoud Dahoud (£4.8m) was shown a straight red card in the second half, with the Blades equalising after, but the result means Brighton haven’t won any of their last six top-flight matches, their longest winless run in the competition under De Zerbi.
In that time, they’ve conceded a whopping 13 goals, although their +5.84 expected goals conceded (xGC) delta in that period suggests they’ve perhaps been a bit unlucky.
The 1-1 draw extended Brighton’s run without a clean sheet to 16 Premier League matches, meanwhile.
As for Sheffield United, they have four points from six with huge clashes against Bournemouth and Burnley after the international break.
“We are spending an unlucky period. We lost four points, two against Fulham and two against Sheffield. We can improve, yes. We can improve, when we have the chance to close the game, to kill the game. When there are five, 10, 15 or 20 minutes where we have to defend, we have to suffer, but we have to suffer with more order and more energy. Because after the red card, I didn’t like the team. We lost order and we defended in a bad way, and we could do better.” – Roberto De Zerbi