Jota benched as Alexander-Arnold returns to Liverpool starting XI


Diogo Jota is the main omission from the Liverpool starting XI this afternoon as Watford welcome the Reds to Vicarage Road in Claudio Ranieri’s first match in charge.

Kick-off is at 12:30 BST.

Jota is only among the substitutes for the visitors but Trent Alexander-Arnold has recovered from a groin injury to return at right-back, with James Milner moving into midfield.

Caoimhin Kelleher lines up between the posts, meanwhile, with Brazilian duo Alisson and Fabinho not involved after representing their country in the early hours of Friday morning.

Naby Keita starts in place of the injured Curtis Jones, with Roberto Firmino brought in at Jota’s expense to line up alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Salah has been massively backed with the captaincy in Gameweek 8, with not far off 90% of the top 10,000 Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers handing him the armband.

A total of 3.5 million Fantasy bosses captained Salah overall, while he was transferred in by just over a third of a million more FPL managers ahead of this morning’s deadline to swell his ownership to 63%.

The Egyptian’s highest-ever Gameweek score of 29 points came against today’s opponents back in 2017/18, and he has 10 attacking returns in six meetings with the Hornets.

As for the hosts, Ranieri has made three changes from Xisco Munoz’s final starting XI as Watford boss.

Francisco Sierralta and Joshua King are out injured, with Craig Cathcart and Cucho Hernandez replacing them. Ozan Tufan is benched, meanwhile, with Adam Masina taking his place.

It’s a 4-4-1-1 on paper for last season’s Championship runners-up but it remains to be seen if the veteran Italian has other ideas come kick-off.


GAMEWEEK 8 LINE-UPS

Watford XI: Foster, Rose, Ekong, Masina, Cathcart, Sissoko, Femenia, Sarr, Dennis, Hernandez, Kucka.

Subs: Bachmann, Ngakia, Louza, Cleverley, Pedro, Sema, Gosling, Fletcher, Tufan.

Liverpool XI: Kelleher, van Dijk, Milner, Keita, Firmino, Mane, Salah, Henderson, Robertson, Matip, Alexander-Arnold.

Subs: Adrian, Konate, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jota, Minamino, Tsimikas, Origi, Williams.

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