Is Salah essential for the run-in?

The last few Gameweeks have seen much debate in the FPL Community around Mo Salah. The Liverpool midfielder had struggled for returns since representing Egypt at the African Cup of Nations. We assess whether Salah should be an essential part of FPL managers planning, or whether managers can move forward without him.

Salah missed Gameweeks 22 and 23 whilst playing in AFCON. In the 21 games in the Premier League he had played before the tournament he had returned 177 FPL points, more than anyone else in the game. His 16 goals was also a game leading total. In addition Salah had great underlying stats.

Gameweeks 1-21

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13.503.6617.16807263204
1st in the game2nd in the game1st in the game1st in the game1st in the game1st in the game1st in the game
Statistics courtesy of the Fantasy Football Scout members area

Since returning from AFCON however, between Gameweek’s 24 and 32 he has returned 53 points. Ten players in the game have returned more points in that period. His four goals leaves him ninth in the game for goals scored in the same period.

However the underlying stats still looked promising for returns

Gameweeks 24-32

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7.382.409.783926382
1st in the game4th in the game1st in the game2nd in the game12th in the game=8th in the game1st in the game
Statistics courtesy of the Fantasy Football Scout members area

Even with good underlying stats since returning from AFCON many managers didn’t feel Salah’s returns were enough to warrant the cost of owning the player in FPL. As a result ahead of resent Gameweeks he has been consistently among the most transfers out players.

However,As in Gameweek 33 so far he is the top scoring player in the game. Salah returned 19 points against Manchester United from two goals, an assist, a clean sheet point and all three bonus points.

Courtesy of the Official FPL app and website.

Salah’s huge return in Gameweek 33 will make FPL managers who parted with the Egyptian revisit whether this is a wise strategy.

Is Salah essential for the run-in?

Fixtures

Liverpool sit seventh in the Fantasy Football Scout fixture ticker for the run in.

Courtesy of the Fantasy Football Scout members area

The fixture that Liverpool have left to play in the Premier League all have good potential for Salah to return. His average points per match statistics look promising:

  • Everton – 6.83 points per match average (including two returns in the last three matches)
  • Newcastle – 6.00 points per match average (including six returns in the last eight matches)
  • Tottenham – 5.40 points per match average (including four returns in the last six matches)
  • Aston Villa – 7.20 points per match average (including returns in all of the last four matches)
  • Southampton – 8.44 points per match average (including seven returns in nine matches)
  • Wolves – 6.14 points per match average (including two returns in the last three matches)

Liverpool also have the moviation heading in to these final six matches. The reds know that they will likely need to win every match to stand a chance of lifting the Premier League trophy.

However, Liverpool do still have Champions League and FA Cup matches to play before the end of the season.

Courtesy of Legomane on Twitter

This crowded match schedule will potential worry some FPL managers, however the incentive for Silverware should inspire Salah and Liverpool for the run-in, making Salah essential.

Form

As shown, even when Salah wasn’t passing the eye test or returning as many FPL points after AFCON his underlying stats still looked good.

In Gameweek 33 Salah highlighted how good an FPL asset he can be. For managers who didn’t own him in Gameweek 33 this would likely have been damaging to their Overall Rank. With good historic records against all the teams he has left to play, as well as motivation in the form of the Premier League title and the Golden Boot, Salah is likely to return over the final six Gameweeks of the season.

Other options

Many FPL managers who parted company with Salah did so for the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Son Heung-Min and Bruno Fernandes. Managers who did one of these moves will now have a difficult decision to make surrounding whether to reverse the transfer.

Fernandes plays twice in Gameweek 34, although they are difficult fixtures against Arsenal and Chelsea. De Bruyne faces Watford, meanwhile Son faces Brentford. Both De Bruyne and Son should be motivated for the run-in. The former challenging for another Premier League title, with the later hunting down a top four finish.

For managers who have a Wildcard chip still to play it should be possible to budget for Salah alongside one of De Bruyne and Son. Managers who don’t have the Wildcard left however, will need to consider a change of premium assets or downgrading other parts of the team.

Overall: Is Salah essential?

It is possible for managers to get to the end of the season without owning Salah. However, his ownership means that he will punish managers who aren’t invested in him. Managers who chose to go without Salah should look at investing in a different Liverpool attacker. Going into the final Gameweeks without any Liverpool attackers seems unwise given their form and motivation. The likes of Sadio Mane, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota will all save budget and could return just as well as Salah in the final six games.

However, Salah does look likely to be a pick that managers are going to want for the final six Liverpool games of the season.


Still have chips to play? We have taken a look at the best time to play any remaining chips FPL managers have.

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