Fantasy Premier League

FPL team news: Defensive concerns for Klopp

The Scout 22 Apr 2017
Joel Matip, Liverpool

Doubts in Reds’ defence could provide Crystal Palace with the opportunity to deliver on their Double Gameweek promise

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has a number of concerns in the heart of his defence ahead of their Anfield encounter with Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Joel Matip (£5.3m), Ragnar Klavan (£4.5m) and Lucas Leiva (£4.4m) will all be monitored as the Merseysiders prepare to face former forward Christian Benteke (£7.2m) in the first of two Gameweek 34 fixtures for Crystal Palace.

Drafted in by over 78,000 Fantasy Premier League managers, the Belgian international also entertains Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday evening.

The Eagles are without Mamadou Sakho (£4.8m) for the Anfield visit, with the on-loan defender ineligible against his parent club.

But James Tomkins (£4.9m) has recovered from a calf complaint, while Patrick van Aanholt (£4.9m) provides FPL managers with an intriguing differential – he will push for a starting role having figured from the bench against Leicester City in Gameweek 33.

Elsewhere, the team news is dominated by the injury suffered by Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic (£11.4m) ahead of Gameweek 34 trips to Burnley and Manchester City.

Forced off with a knee problem during Thursday evening’s UEFA Europa League match with Anderlecht, the veteran’s likely absence could allow Marcus Rashford (£6.5m) or fit-again Wayne Rooney (£8.6m) to lead the attack for Jose Mourinho’s side.

Rashford approaches United’s Double Gameweek in fine form, having scored in three of his previous four outings in all competitions. Over 112,000 FPL managers have acquired the striker in the last 24 hours as a result of Ibrahimovic’s injury.

Mourinho has also been hit by concerns at the back after Marcos Rojo (£5.2m) was stretchered off in Thursday’s tie.

Daley Blind (£5.2m) now looks poised to partner Eric Bailly (£5.4m) in central defence. The Dutchman’s dead-ball delivery has already provided two assists this season, making him a worthy differential for those shopping for a backline option.

Man City could have Gabriel Jesus (£8.7m) back in time for Thursday evening’s derby. The Brazilian has returned to training and is expected to be included in the squad to face Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday.

Having returned 24 points in his first two starts before succumbing to injury in Gameweek 25, Jesus is set to resume his battle with Sergio Aguero (£12.8m) for the striker’s role in Pep Guardiola’s line-up.

Middlesbrough are without first-choice goalkeeper Victor Valdes (£4.6m) for the first match of their Double Gameweek 34, at AFC Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon.

Already acquired by more than 9,000 FPL managers since the previous deadline, the Spaniard is struggling to overcome a rib problem in time for the midweek home clash with Sunderland; Brad Guzan (£4.2m) is set to deputise.

Meanwhile, another goalkeeper, Stoke City’s Jack Butland (£4.5m), could be in line for a first start of the season after recovering from a long-term ankle problem.

Current number one Lee Grant (£4.4m, 9.4% ownership) has started every match from Gameweek 6 onwards, providing FPL managers with a reliable budget option. However, Potters’ manager Mark Hughes is considering his options for the trip to Swansea City after a run of five matches without a clean sheet.

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