Studying the midweek European line-ups could help FPL managers predict this weekend’s team selections and decide their transfers.
Three Premier League sides took part in the Champions League quarter-final first legs, with one each in the Europa League and Europa Conference League.
Let’s look at their starting XIs one-by-one.
Benfica 1-3 Liverpool
It was a comfortable first leg victory in Lisbon for Jurgen Klopp’s side, as he brought Trent Alexander-Arnold back into proceedings in a full-strength side. By choosing Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Luis Diaz as his front three, Klopp had Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino on the bench. Such was the Reds’ nice lead, they replaced Salah and Mane just after the hour mark.
Such is the enormity of Sunday’s clash with Man City, there is no chance of resting playing in that match. Expect Klopp to name roughly the same line-up, with perhaps Joel Matip or Jordan Henderson coming in. The second leg against Benfica is more likely the time to carefully manage minutes.
Man City 1-0 Atletico Madrid
Pep Guardiola named nine substitutes instead of 11 for this tight victory, including two youngsters and two goalkeepers. Kyle Walker served the final part of his three-match European suspension and will likely replace Nathan Ake versus Liverpool, so that Joao Cancelo can switch to left-back. Name like Ederson, Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne won’t be touched on Sunday, so the main question is where the final three attacking spots will go.
This time it was Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan. Saturday against Burnley saw it be Sterling, Gundogan, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish. At Anfield in October, Guardiola chose Foden, Grealish and Gabriel Jesus – all of whom made cameos against Atletico.
Chelsea 1-3 Real Madrid
Karim Benzema’s hat-trick has put Real Madrid in a very strong position heading into next week’s second leg. As a result, does Thomas Tuchel already throw in the towel and concentrate on stabilising their league form following the shock 4-1 home defeat to Brentford?
Probably not, as Kai Havertz‘s goal gives a glimmer of hope. But before this Benzema masterclass, it looked very likely that rotation would occur at Southampton this weekend. FPL managers with Reece James or Antonio Rudiger will notice they played the full 90 minutes, as did Havertz and Mason Mount. Perhaps James gets rested for Marcos Alonso, with Romelu Lukaku coming in up front.
There were brief appearances from Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech, whilst Timo Werner, Trevoh Chalobah and Saul Niguez stayed on the bench.
West Ham 1-1 Lyon
Aaron Cresswell‘s controversial red card on the stroke of half-time changed the dynamic of this Lyon match. Although Jarrod Bowen was still able to give West Ham a 1-0 lead with ten men, the French side eventually equalised through loanee Tanguy Ndombele.
David Moyes’ line-up gave minutes to Alphonse Areola over Lukasz Fabianski, with Ben Johnson the preferred substitution after Cresswell’s red rather than Vladimir Coufal. The Hammers were full-strength elsewhere. Therefore, it’s probable that rotations will occur for their match at Brentford. Any remaining Michail Antonio and Said Benrahma owners could be disappointed, with Andriy Yarmolenko and Nikola Vlasic hovering.
Furthermore, whilst Bowen is currently the second most-bought player of the Gameweek, he has played 153 minutes this week. Moyes will be careful not to overplay him after missing a month through injury. There could be immediate frustration for 170,000 managers.
Leicester 0-0 PSV Eindhoven
Considering the latter stage of European competition, it’s no surprise to see all five teams play strong line-ups. Leicester gave 90 minutes to both Harvey Barnes and James Maddison, which may concern FPL owners. Meanwhile, Wesley Fofana and Jonny Evans built up their match fitness by playing here.
Whilst James Justin and Patson Daka came on for Ricardo Pereira and Kelechi Iheanacho, names like Luke Thomas, Daniel Amartey and Hamza Choudhury stayed rested. For this reason, perhaps rotation will take place when Leicester host Crystal Palace.
“Soyuncu was ill, he just trained for the first time; he should be OK for Sunday. Soumare again has been out for a week or so, hopefully he should train with the team. And we’ve just got to see how Perez is ill.” – Brendan Rodgers