Over one million FPL managers have sold Mohammed Salah since a blank away at Leicester City in GW4 and his returns over that period have proven a sale was correct.
Just one goal in four is a very average return from the games most expensive asset, even when you consider Liverpool faced three of last season’s top five in that period. A favourable fixture list of Huddersfield (A), Cardiff City (H) & Fulham (H) in his next four though meant many (including myself) have resisted the urge to offload Salah.
Those plans were thrown straight out of the window during the week though, with the news that Salah is a major doubt for Saturday’s game having sustained a muscular problem on international duty!
For those that do not want the risk of “will he, won’t he play” – the obvious option (provided you do not already own) is Eden Hazard! The Belgian captain is thriving under the attacking approach of new manager Mauricio Sarri and Chelsea have three home games in their next four.
Usually a home fixture with Manchester United would have been looked upon with caution, but a Chelsea victory looks very likely given the woeful form of the visitors. Hazard also is not a rotation risk, with Sarri clearly preserving his star player for the Premier League given a lack of European involvement.
Whilst I am desperate to get Hazard in – personally I do not like the idea of no Liverpool attacking option for games against Premier League cannon fodder in Huddersfield and Cardiff. As a result the easy transfer would have been to bring Sadio Mane in as a direct replacement for Salah; however the Senegalese midfielder is another who suffered an injury during the international break.
As a result Xherdan Shaqiri appears to be in line for a rare Premier League start. For obvious reasons, just 2% of FPL managers own the former Bayern Munich winger and at just £7.0m, he could be a real differential this weekend. The sale from Salah to Shaqiri would also bring about a massive increase to your budget, which could potentially turn a cheap third choice forward into a Alexandre Lacazette or Jamie Vardy!
Despite the above positives, I would be massively against this move though. Whilst Shaqiri appears likely to feature on Saturday, the injuries to Salah and Mane do not appear to be major and would be a surprise if both are out of the XI for long.
Another replacement would be Raheem Sterling. Only three players have scored more than the England winger this term, yet a surprisingly low amount of FPL managers have him in their team.
32 points in the three home games Sterling has featured in this term is an incredible return, finding the back of the net in them all and claiming six from a possible nine bonus points. Manchester City host a Burnley side on the weekend that have faced more shots than anyone else this term. At £11.1m some are put off by the price of Sterling; however he has proven himself over the last 18 months as an excellent FPL option.
I’ll end on a word of wisdom: keeping Salah is definitely an option here and trigger happy FPL managers may want to wait until Jurgen Klopp press conference. At £12.8m there is no player you can’t afford to replace Salah with, meaning even another price drop wouldn’t effect your options.
Given the strength of my bench, I’m currently gambling that Salah will be fit enough to feature. Roberto Pereyra is my first substitute currently for GW9, meaning it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he isn’t ready. The issue appears to be a minor one and despite a mixed campaign thus far, I want Salah in my team come Cardiff City at home in GW10.