Salah benched + Robertson ‘rested’ as Liverpool edge past Villa

We round up the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Aston Villa v Liverpool in our Scout Notes summary.

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MANE KEEPS REDS’ HOPES ALIVE

Salah benched + Robertson 'rested' as Liverpool edge past Villa 1

Joel Matip (£5.2m) quickly canceled out Douglas Luiz‘s (£4.3m) early opener at Villa Park, before Sadio Mane (£11.8m) completed the comeback when he brilliantly headed home Luis Diaz‘s (£8.0m) cross.

Mane has now scored seven Premier League goals since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations in February – one more than Mohamed Salah (£13.3m) in that time – although it was Diaz who came out on top in Double Gameweek 36, ending the round with 15 points, more than any other team-mate.

The Colombian has started four of Liverpool’s last five league matches, amassing 34 points courtesy of two goals, three assists and four bonuses.

“It was a good cross from Diaz, I was in the box and in this moment, I just need to put it in the net and even without power I usually score. We know each other well from training every day. When he got the ball, I knew he was going to cross so I was just going to be ready for it. When we won trophies, I was happier. I am just trying to enjoy every moment and try to score. It is all about the team and the boys make it easy for me.” – Sadio Mane

“He’s a machine, I told him after the game. He is a massive player. His physicality is brutal. He is a mix of technique, desire and physicality when at the moment everyone has a few yards in the legs. You can see it with him to be honest. Top goal, he is just a fantastic world-class player.” — Jurgen Klopp on Sadio Mane

Salah, meanwhile, was handed 20 minutes from the bench, but has now failed to score in 12 of his last 13 club appearances.

Liverpool’s win means they now lie second only on goal difference before Manchester City visit Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday.

KLOPP EXPLAINS SALAH OMISSION

With an FPL Cup final looming, Jurgen Klopp told reporters that rotation is the “only way” for Liverpool as they continue to compete on multiple fronts.

Mohamed Salah found himself on the bench at Villa Park, a surprising development given that he was rested for Liverpool’s recent trip to St James’ Park in Gameweek 35.

“Yes, for us it is the only way. We cannot just push players through all the time. We have the quality and that’s why we use it.” – Jurgen Klopp on rotation

Andrew Robertson (£7.3m), meanwhile, was rested and not involved in the matchday squad at all.

“Robbo [Robertson] wasn’t in the squad because I wanted to give him a rest at home and brought another striker into the squad if we needed. That’s it.” — Jurgen Klopp on Andrew Robertson

The Reds were, however, forced into an early change, as Fabinho (£5.4m) went down and instantly grabbed his left hamstring. The Brazilian was unable to carry on and eventually replaced by club captain Jordan Henderson (£4.9m).

“I don’t know. He felt a muscle, not too much. It was not the thigh, but the other side (hamstring). He is quite positive but I’m not sure what I can take of that, to be honest. We will see. I can’t say when he’ll be ready. Nobody has an answer for that. He has a good feeling and that gives me a better feeling than I had when I took him off.” — Jurgen Klopp on Fabinho

INGS CARRIES A THREAT

Danny Ings (£7.7m) scored against his old club Burnley at the weekend and nearly got one against another of his former teams on Tuesday.

Deployed alongside Ollie Watkins (£7.5m) in Steven Gerrard’s diamond formation, the 29-year-old certainly had opportunities to add to his tally, as he wasted two big chances whilst also having a goal ruled out for offside.

“We are a lot more dangerous with two number nines. At times we had to suffer. You are never going to play Liverpool off the pitch, they are high-level opposition and have a top manager but for large parts of the game we were in the ascendancy and we showed a lot of ambition. We had a lot of chances and Liverpool were never comfortable.” — Steven Gerrard

Watkins, meanwhile, went off with a knock, which Gerrard briefly mentioned in his post-match interview:

“We might have a small injury to Ollie [Watkins] but we’ll have to analyze that.” — Steven Gerrard on Ollie Watkins

COUTINHO ‘RESTED’ AT BURNLEY

Steven Gerrard claims he “restedPhilippe Coutinho (£7.1m) at Burnley on Saturday, so he could start against Liverpool this evening.

That meant Emiliano Buendia (£6.1m) dropped out of Villa’s starting XI, despite the Argentine impressing of late after chipping in with a goal and two assists in his last two appearances.

Explaining his decision, Gerrard said:

“He [Coutinho] was rested against Burnley with an idea to be fresh to go into tonight’s game.” — Steven Gerrard

Coutinho hasn’t produced an attacking return since the 3-0 win over Leeds United in Gameweek 28, and despite having his moments against Liverpool, was replaced by Buendia after 70 minutes.


Aston Villa XI: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Digne, Nakamba (Chukwuemeka 62), McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Coutinho (Buendia 70), Ings, Watkins (Traore 81)

Liverpool XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Tsimikas, Fabinho (Henderson 30), Keita, Jones (Thiago 62), Diaz (Salah 72), Mane, Jota


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