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Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling And The 5 #FPL Players You MUST Pick This Week

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Gameweek 8

 

DEFENCE: Daryl Janmaat – £5.0m (Home v Leicester)

What’s this? A Newcastle defender? Newcastle?!

Correct, Newcastle. Summer signing Daryl Janmaat has looked okay since he arrived at St James’s Park from Dutch football, even managing a goal against Crystal Palace. As he faces a Leicester side who drew a blank at Crystal Palace last time out he’ll be looking to keep things tight from right-back whilst also getting forward, too. Could be worth a punt at a cheap price.

 

MIDFIELD: Raheem Sterling – £8.9m (Away v QPR)

Some things are just meant to be, and following the week he’s had (which included, let’s not forget, coming off the bench to win the free-kick from which England won the game in Estonia) then it seems likely that Raheem Sterling will have a huge say in proceedings back at his former club QPR on Sunday.

Liverpool’s well-rested teenager is likely to be teamed up with Daniel Sturridge again as his club and country teammate returns from injury, and that combination could help the Reds to a victory at a club who continue to struggle this season.

 

FORWARD: Saido Berahino – £5.6m (Home v Man Utd)

The prolific young Baggie Saido Berahino netted a penalty at Anfield before the international break, during which he impressed for the England under-21s.

The forward will fancy his chances against Manchester United’s dodgy defence on Monday night, when Louis van Gaal’s side will expect to win at The Hawthorns, but could do so whilst conceding goals at the other end to this lively youngster.

 

THE OUTSIDER: Gabriel Agbonlahor – £5.4m (Away v Everton)

The last time Aston Villa were on Merseyside they emerged from Anfield as 1-0 victors thanks to a winner from Gabriel Agbonlahor, and the Villa stalwart will be important again as they return to the area to take on an Everton side who have specialised in conceding goals this season.

Paul Lambert’s men sorely missed Agbonlahor during the 2-0 loss at home to Manchester City just before the internationals when he pulled out just before kick-off through illness, but now he’s back up and running he’ll be vital if the Villans are to take anything from Goodison Park. He could be worth a gamble.

 

THE CAPTAIN: Diego Costa – £11.1m (Away v Crystal Palace)

Yep, it’s him again.

As the evidence grows that Diego Costa’s ‘injury’ is just an elaborate wind-up from Jose Mourinho (as if he’d dream of doing such a thing!) then it really does make sense just to keep sticking with the Chelsea forward.

Costa finally managed his first Spain goal in seven appearances on Sunday, and now he’s got Palace in his sights.

 

@Mark_Jones86   

Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling And The 5 #FPL Players You MUST Pick This Week

To Know The Game: The Story So Far (Part 1)

With Yirma off on an international break, we thought it was a good time to let our friends over at To Know The Game take over for a few days and present you with their review of the Premier League season so far.

Over the weekend we’ll see what the guys rate as the three biggest surprises we’ve seen in the 2012/13 season, whilst they’ll also rate the title contenders and the runners and riders in the battle for fourth place.

First up though, here’s a look at who TKTG regard as the three most impressive summer signings in the opening months of the season. Enjoy!

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With 7 weeks gone is it too early to make a judgment on players and teams? Well, it may be too soon but that’s not stopping us at TKTG from using this international break to take stock of what we’ve seen in the EPL thus far. The next few months are going to be quite hectic for English clubs, which will see the fortunes of some change while others have probably set their tone for the rest of the season. In this piece, we look at the 3 signings that we feel have made the most impact, followed by our take on the big surprises of the season so far  and we wrap things up with an analysis of the race for 4th place and the battle for the Premiership title.

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TOP 3 SIGNINGS

Robin van Persie: He scores when he wants!! He scores when he wants!! – RvP at Arsenal or RvP at Man United – the chant remains the same. Look away Arsenal fans but van Persie has been a success at United. 7 goals and 2 assists so far (EPL and UEFA CL) backs up his impressive start to the season. Things will only get better once United learn to play to his strengths and he gels with his teammates – and make no mistake, RvP WILL gel with Kagawa and Rooney. Their only issue might be if Rooney is OK with RvP as the main striker. However, as we have already covered – Rooney is quite liking his midfield role. RVP for the Golden Boot? You bet.

Santi Cazorla: The best import of the season! Hazard who? While Hazard has certainly been impressive; Santi brings a whole new dimension to the game – he can attack; he tracks back; he has great positional play; shoots with his left; shoots with his right – and all that with a smile on his face. Arsenal fans are already calling him their favourite Spanish player ever….move over Arteta and Cesc – Santi is awesome!

Michu: while there was a case for both Kone (Wigan) and Fletcher (Sunderland); we at TKTG felt Michu is more deserving of this spot. Not only does he have the skill but his reading of the game is excellent – he is an “intelligent” footballer. The new Tim Cahill? Even most supporters of the top 4 clubs would want him in their team and that is a testament to his immense talent and massive potential.

Honorable mention: While not a  new signing; Raheem Sterling at Liverpool looks like an exciting youngster. Quick, fast, direct he will hopefully continue to do better. He already has 6 starts in the league and could form an exciting partnership with Suarez and Borini.

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For more great articles like this one visit the guys at toknowthegame.com, whilst you can follow them on Twitter at @toknowthegame.

Gameweek 6 preview: Hair today, goals tomorrow?

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The trouble with pesky competitions like the Capital One Cup – which still sounds like an employee of the month award – is that they can easily get in the way of your Fantasy Premier League team’s progress.

They can affect the mood of teams in the real thing too, and as such Everton’s week suddenly doesn’t look as rosy as it did when Marouane Fellaini (£7.2m) headed in the third of their three goals in the convincing win at Swansea last Saturday.

The cup loss to Leeds in midweek saw the chances of David Moyes making this the season that he picks up a first trophy at Everton effectively reduced by 50%, and the question now has to be whether or not that’ll affect the Blues’ fine league form which has taken them to third in the table after five games.

All eyes will be on Goodison Park on Saturday then, as Everton seek to bounce back at the first time of asking by welcoming Southampton.

As fixtures go it is a pretty decent one to make your recovery from midweek misery, and if you can see them getting over the Elland Road loss quickly then expect the Blues to be flying come Saturday afternoon. With fixtures against Wigan and QPR to come in the immediate future too, it could be a good time to put your faith in Moyes’s boys to earn you points, with Fellaini the man most likely.

That said, Nikica Jelavic (£8.4m) is also primed to return here after missing the Swansea game and only appearing as a substitute against Leeds, whilst those who can afford Leighton Baines (£7.2m) will be getting a severely underrated defender who has already contributed a goal, two assists and two clean sheets this season. He could well be set to add to that tally at the weekend.

Across Stanley Park at Liverpool, things could just be about to change for the better.

Last weekend’s unfortunate loss to Manchester United brought an end to a tricky run of fixtures for Brendan Rodgers’ side, and although the midweek Capital One Cup win at West Bromwich Albion was achieved with a smattering of youngsters, it might just have restored somewhat of a feelgood factor amongst those at the club.

Norwich await in the Premier League at Carrow Road on Saturday, and with the Canaries having only found the net twice in their five league games this season – plus with winnable home games against Stoke and Reading on the horizon – it might just be the time to put your faith in Rodgers’ rearguard.

Injury and rotation issues mean that the only two defenders certain to start for Liverpool at the weekend are Glen Johnson (£6.4m) and Martin Skrtel (£6.0m), and with the pair offering the potential for assist and goal points respectively then either could be good additions. It is further forward where Liverpool could make their mark this weekend though, with Raheem Sterling (£4.6m) still an astute cheap choice and Luis Suarez (£9.4m) ready to fire back at a ground where he scored a hat-trick last season. Those now debating whether or not to stick with Carlos Tevez (£9.9m) could decide to switch to the Uruguayan.

Tevez and his Manchester City team-mates go to Fulham on Saturday, and with City far from certain to get a result there and clashes between Arsenal and Chelsea and Manchester United and Tottenham proving somewhat unpredictable, it might pay to look elsewhere for some points.

With apologies to Steven Fletcher (£7.2m) his goalscoring run has become impossible to ignore, and whilst climbing on board the Fletcher bandwagon has to come with the warning that Sunderland face City away next, this weekend’s fixture at home to Wigan could be the perfect one to see the Scot continue his scoring run.

@Mark_Jones86

Liverpool: The kids are alright, but is that enough?

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As symbolism goes the image was a pretty stark one.

On a chilly Sunday afternoon when there were many more serious issues than football to ponder at Anfield it seems wrong to pay so much attention to the mere matters that were going on at pitch level, but just seconds into the second half there was a moment that spoke volumes for just where Liverpool are heading under Brendan Rodgers.

The 18-year-old Jesús Joaquín Fernández Sáez de la Torre – or ‘Suso’ to his mates and now the millions worldwide who watched his Premier League debut on Sunday – picked the ball up on the left corner of the penalty area and was suddenly face-to-face with the man he’d entered the pitch with seconds earlier.

Whilst Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson had turned to Paul Scholes, 37, at half-time as his side sought to gain control of midfield now that Liverpool were down to 10 men, Rodgers had opted for Suso to replace the injured Fabio Borini.

Undeterred by the sense of occasion, the fact that this was his first act as a Premier League footballer nor that his side had seen a man sent off, Suso faced up to Scholes on the corner of the box, showed him the ball and then quick as a flash burst past a man more than twice his age. At that moment the great Scholes could probably feel his old bones creaking.

That Suso’s cross was only half-cleared and eventually – via the good work of Glen Johnson – resulted in Steven Gerrard firing Liverpool into a deserved lead only crystallised the moment more. These young Liverpool players, regardless of who they are facing and how many players they are facing them with, are fearless.

At 18 Suso wasn’t even the youngest Reds player on the pitch at the time, with that honour going to the 17-year-old Raheem Sterling. Jonjo Shelvey, 20, had somewhat harshly been sent off by then, whilst the injury suffered by the 22-year-old Martin Kelly would leave Liverpool with just nine men by full-time. Borini, 21, and Joe Allen, 22, were playing in their third Anfield league game since big summer moves to Merseyside, a switch made by 22-year-old second half substitute Jordan Henderson last year. The 19-year-old Andre Wisdom scored in the Europa League last week and could now be set for more appearances given that Kelly is out for the foreseeable future with an ACL injury. Many more young players at set to feature in the Capital One Cup at West Brom on Wednesday night.

The omnipresence of Gerrard and a late cameo from Jamie Carragher reminded everyone that this isn’t a total revolution just yet, but it is hard to think of a club operating at the levels Liverpool are that is currently putting so much faith in youth. As admirable as it is, the worry has to be that it is too much too soon.

The club’s failings in the transfer market have a lot to do with it of course, but Rodgers is on record extolling the virtues of his young charges.

As he and Ferguson have said in the past, young players will rarely let you down when called upon, but at a time when the club are coming to terms with a new style of play as well as new personnel with which to play it, the potential for errors has crept in. At this level such mistakes can and will be capitalised on, as United showed in coming back to win on Sunday.

The next three Premier League fixtures – away at Norwich and then at home to Stoke and Reading – have already been identified as crucial to Liverpool following their tough start, and the youngsters in the team are likely to have to grow up quickly if success is to be achieved in all of them.

There is no doubt that a great excitement builds when the likes of Suso and Sterling get the ball, but it is up to Gerrard and Luis Suarez to show seniority and help guide them. Allen, the excellent Johnson and the still acclimatising Nuri Sahin will prove important in this regard too.

Is it too much too young for some of these Liverpool players? That remains to be seen, but one thing that they are certainly not lacking in is confidence. If Suso can do that to Scholes, then anything is possible.

The kids aren’t United, they’re Liverpool, and this could just be the start of something special if it is given time.

@Mark_Jones86

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