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06 Nov 2018 by Colm Hayes

FPL Gameweek 12 – Captain Picks

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Liverpool’s star midfield options are the standout captain choices this weekend as leaky Fulham travel to Anfield. Harry Kane will be looking to add to his road tally, a visit to Newcastle could prove profitable for Callum Wilson and Gameweek 11’s top scorer Raheem Sterling is somehow still under the 10% ownership mark.

PREMIUM OPTIONS

Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) vs Fulham (H)

The Egyptian posted a fifth blank of the season away to Arsenal in GW11 as the Gunners managed to limit Liverpool to one goal, with Virgil van Dijk (£5.9m) spurning several good opportunities. Salah was heavily involved in the Reds’ attempts to breach Unai Emery’s defence, supplying four key passes – including one big chance for VVD – and attempting three shots (two blocked, one off target). The attacker also registered the most touches in the box of any player in the Emirates clash.

Of those five blanks this season, just one has come at Anfield – in the GW8 0-0 draw against Manchester City. Having bagged 15 points when Cardiff visited in GW10, Salah will be aiming to post his second double-figure haul against the Cottagers on Sunday.

Slavisa Jokanovic’s side lost 1-0 to Huddersfield on Monday night and conceded at least three times in each fixture between GW7 and GW10 – including four away to Cardiff in GW9. Fulham (29 goals against) are the league’s leakiest side, with only Burnley (21) and Brighton (18.3) allowing a higher average of attempts on goal than the Cottagers (15.9). Only Sergio Aguero (£11.3m), with 51 attempts, has taken more shots than Salah (43) so far this campaign. The Egypt man has hit the target with almost 40 per cent (17) of those.

While City (33) sit far ahead of Liverpool (21) in the goals scored column, a visit from Fulham should allow Jurgen Klopp’s team to claw back some of that goal difference. The Reds’ attack has yet to consistently fire on all cylinders this season but the 4-1 drubbing of the Bluebirds shows that Salah and co can take full advantage of weaker opposition.

Sadio Mane (£9.8m) vs Fulham (H)

Such is the favourable nature of Liverpool’s GW12 fixture, non-Salah owners might be wise to hand the armband to team-mate Mane.

The Senegal winger was less involved in GW11, hitting one shot that went narrowly wide after a slight deflection and recording no key passes. However, Mane did see a tap-in controversially ruled out for offside after Roberto Firmino (£9.2m) struck Bernd Leno’s (£4.8m) post. And Liverpool’s goal came via good work from the midfielder, as the Arsenal stopper pushed Mane’s cross into the path of scorer James Milner (£5.6m).

Mane mirrored Salah with a 15-point score in GW10, bagging a brace and three bonus points. Those were the Senegalese’s first attacking returns since GW4, meaning he has blanked in five of his last six league starts. However, just as Cardiff did, Fulham are likely to offer up opportunities to Liverpool’s attackers. Xherdan Shaqiri (£7.0m) has been left out of Liverpool’s squad for this evening’s Champions League tie away to Red Star Belgrade for political reasons, meaning the Swiss has a strong case to start on Sunday.

‘Shaq’ has yet to directly replace Mane or Salah in Klopp’s league XI, however, either being used at the tip of the midfield three or out wide in a 4-2-3-1 – as was the case against Neil Warnock’s team, when Firmino operated behind Salah. Naby Keita (£7.2m) is part of the group travelling to Serbia, further increasing competition in the Liverpool midfield ranks. Jordan Henderson (£5.3m) is also set to be in contention for GW12.

The only game Mane has missed so far was a trip to Huddersfield in GW9 due to a hand injury, while Salah has started every gameweek. With an international break after GW12 and Liverpool sitting two points off Man City, FPL managers will hope Klopp goes with his strongest attacking line-up for the Cottagers’ visit.

Harry Kane (£12.4m) vs Crystal Palace (a)

The England striker converted a rebound at Molineux in GW11 after his initial shot was saved by Rui Patricio (£4.6m). That was Kane’s first goal in four gameweeks but means he has now bagged five of his six strikes this season away from home.

Kane took eight of Spurs’ ten shots at Wolves, putting six of them between Patricio’s posts. The forward now sits third in the goal attempts chart on 37, finding the target with just over half of those (19).

While the striker is not on too many FPL shopping lists at present, he still has a hefty 23.6% ownership. Once Kane comes through Spurs’ home clash against PSV tonight, those owners can at least be more-or-less guaranteed of 90 minutes for the forward at Selhurst Park on Saturday evening. A big points haul will have non-owners on alert ahead of Tottenham’s favourable fixture swing in GW15.

Callum Wilson (£6.7m) vs Newcastle (a)

The Cherries forward took advantage of some abject Manchester United defending in GW11 to post attacking returns for the fourth time in five gameweeks.

Nailed on in Eddie Howe’s first XI, Wilson (70) is just three points off top-scoring FPL forward Aguero. The Bournemouth man has scored four of his six goals away from home ahead of the trip to St James’ Park on Saturday.

The Magpies have conceded nine times (out of 14 total) at their home ground during a tough run of opening fixtures. Rafa Benitez’s men have kept two clean sheets in a row but were slightly fortunate that GW11 visitors Watford failed to score. The Hornets created five big chances on Tyneside, with Roberto Pereyra (£6.4m) cannoning one effort off the crossbar as Newcastle got out of jail.

Wilson has missed the most big chances (10) of any player this season, while sitting joint-second on goals scored (6) so far. The striker boasts the potential for even more consistent returns and could put the Magpies to the sword if Benitez’s side cough up a similar amount of chances to their GW11 showing.

DIFFERENTIAL CHOICE

Raheem Sterling (£11.1m) vs Man Utd (H)

The attacker was GW11’s top scorer with a massive 21-point haul, scoring and assisting twice. Sterling is currently owned by just 7.7% of managers, though that figure – along with his price – will increase as the week goes on.

Nothing is guaranteed in terms of Pep Guardiola’s team selection, as was evidenced by GW11’s differential pick Riyad Mahrez (£8.6m) finding himself on the bench for Southampton’s visit. However, a Manchester derby looks an unlikely time for the in-form Sterling to be rotated.

United have let in 18 goals so far this campaign, with ten of those conceded in away fixtures. Jose Mourinho’s assessment of his team’s defending in the first half against Bournemouth last Saturday left no doubt that United’s goals against tally should be even higher than it is.

Sterling and City’s slickers took full advantage of a clueless defensive performance from the Saints at the Etihad in GW11. While derby clashes are always hard to call, City scoring at home looks a safe enough bet – particularly considering United’s clear issues in defence.

England winger Sterling has blanked just once (away to Liverpool) in his last seven gameweek starts. Most managers who handed him the armband in GW11 were rewarded with sizeable rank jumps and while he remains lowly-owned, the midfielder represents a tantalising differential armband option.

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