Garth Crooks’ team of the week: Salah, Deulofeu, Maddison, Jagielka

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It was a great weekend for Liverpool, who moved back to the top of the Premier League table, while rivals Manchester City booked their place in the FA Cup final.

There were also huge celebrations from Watford fans as Gerard Deulofeu inspired a stunning comeback in their FA Cup semi-final win over Wolves.

Victory for Burnley moved them eight points clear of the top flight relegation zone and Crystal Palace effectively sealed their safety with a late winner at Newcastle.

There were also victories for Everton and Leicester during a weekend packed full of drama and FA Cup magic.

But who made my team of the week? Take a look below.

Goalkeeper – Ederson (Manchester City)

Ederson: As semi-finals go, Manchester City versus Brighton was not a classic. However, what I have never seen before is a goalkeeper take so many chances in defence with his feet.

In my day, goalkeepers picked the ball up when it was in the box. Ederson plays the game like a defender and only uses his hands as a last resort. I must say he was quite brilliant but I sometimes think: What is the game coming to?

Did you know? Since making his Premier League debut in August 2017, Ederson has kept more clean sheets in the competition (32) than any other goalkeeper.

Defenders – Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), James Milner (Liverpool)

Aaron Wan-Bissaka: You can’t go to St James’ Park, win 1-0, keep a clean sheet and not have at least one of your defenders in my team of the week.

I thought about James Tomkins, who has been consistent for Crystal Palace this season, often in very difficult circumstances. However, I’ve gone for my young player of the season, Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

He was superb yet again against Newcastle. This fabulous talent has not looked back since his Premier League debut at Fulham at the start of the season. This kid is a must for Manchester United.

Did you know? Aaron Wan-Bissaka has made more tackles than any other defender in the Premier League this season (115).

Phil Jagielka: I didn’t expect Phil Jagielka to be on the field for Everton against Arsenal on Sunday, never mind scoring the winning goal. I thought the club captain was fantastic considering the lack of first-team football he’s played.

The Toffees have now beaten Arsenal and Chelsea in a matter of weeks and completely stemmed the stinging criticism directed towards manager Marco Silva. I wonder how long that is going to last?

Did you know? Only Richard Gough (37 years 138 days), against Southampton in August 1999, has scored a Premier League goal for Everton at an older age than Phil Jagielka (36 years 233 days).

Virgil van Dijk: What a ball to Roberto Firmino from Virgil van Dijk. The Dutch international didn’t just boot the ball up the field, he turned a smart piece of defending into attack.

This glorious counter enabled Firmino to square the ball for Jordan Henderson to score as Liverpool won at Southampton on Friday.

Real Madrid and Barcelona must be in frantic talks with their banks about how much it might cost to buy Van Dijk. An audacious bid is bound to happen sooner or later – if it hasn’t already.

Did you know? Van Dijk has played 2,935 minutes in the Premier League this season – without any opponent managing to dribble past him.

James Milner: Regular readers of my team of the week column will know what I think of James Milner. He is the professional’s professional.

You won’t hear a peep out of him complaining about being on the bench, being forced to play out of position, or being given the responsibility to take the penalty kick in the big games when other players’ nerves are going.

He’s the man for any situation and he came to Liverpool’s aid at Southampton. A cool head in a crisis.

Did you know? Only Roberto Firmino (129) has made more Premier League appearances for Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp than James Milner (115).

Midfielders – James Maddison (Leicester), Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)

James Maddison: A Leicester player who seems to have benefited from the arrival of Brendan Rodgers.

James Maddison is becoming as famous for his free-kicks as he is for his celebrations. This one flew past Huddersfield’s Ben Hamer like a rocket on Saturday.

However, it was the twist and the turn followed by the through ball for Jamie Vardy that produced Leicester’s penalty that did it for me. It left Huddersfield in pieces.

Did you know? Leicester’s James Maddison has scored three direct free-kick goals in the Premier League this season, the most by a player in a single campaign since Philippe Coutinho in 2016-17 (also three).

Luka Milivojevic: As I indicated earlier, it was a fabulous win for Crystal Palace at St James’ Park.

The Eagles had not won at Newcastle since 1998. Goals were not easy to come by in this fixture but once Wilfried Zaha was brought down in the box and Luka Milivojevic stepped up to take the spot kick, the game was over. The Serbia international is deadly when it comes to penalties and so it proved.

It was hardly surprising that Rafa Benitez had a face like thunder afterwards, and was happy to tell anyone prepared to listen that Newcastle are not safe yet – and neither is his long term future at Newcastle.

Did you know? Luka Milivojevic has scored 10 Premier League penalties for Crystal Palace this season – only Andrew Johnson in 2004-05 (11, also with Crystal Palace) has scored more in a single campaign in the competition.

Jordan Henderson: Captain fantastic took to the stage against Southampton and told Jurgen Klopp where he can stick his position on the bench.

Jordan Henderson had every right to feel elated, having replaced Georginio Wijnaldum and then scored a goal to put the game well beyond the Saints.

Personally, I think Henderson has been treated rather harshly with Klopp relegating him to substitute. But it may have just got that extra impetus out of him and taken Liverpool one step nearer to that elusive title.

Did you know? Henderson is the first substitute to score a goal, assist a goal and receive a yellow card in one Premier League match since Graziano Pelle did so against Crystal Palace back in May 2016.

Forwards – Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Gerard Deulofeu (Watford), Jamie Vardy (Leicester)

Mohamed Salah: Salah came back to form with a bang against a Southampton side very much in the mood.

The Egypt international signalled his comeback with a trademark finish and ripped off his shirt with a defiant stare at the Liverpool fans who dared to doubt him. This is the worst possible news for Manchester City.

It was like watching Lazarus rise from the grave. No wonder Liverpool fans are going crazy. Their boy is back.

Did you know? Mohamed Salah has scored 50 goals in just 69 appearances for Liverpool in the Premier League; only Alan Shearer (66 at Blackburn) and Ruud van Nistelrooy (68 at Manchester United) reached the milestone in fewer apps for a single club in the competition.

Gerard Deulofeu: I don’t think I’ve seen such a beautifully executed goal in an FA Cup semi-final before. Gerard Deulofeu’s goal to put Watford back in the game against Wolves was a thing of beauty.

What I don’t get with Deulofeu is how he can be so sublime one game and so painfully ordinary the next. The Spaniard came on, played for 46 minutes and walked off having suffered a knock.

I find Deulofeu as frustrating as he can be devastating. I didn’t want to select him – but he’s just got his team to the FA Cup final. I don’t think I have a choice.

Did you know? Gerard Deulofeu is the seventh player to score twice in an FA Cup semi-final, and the first since Willian for Chelsea against Tottenham in April 2017.

Jamie Vardy: It looks like Jamie Vardy is having one of those parties Leicester fans are always singing about. The England striker’s appetite for goals seems to have returned since the arrival of Brendan Rodgers.

I did warn former manager Claude Puel that reconciling his differences with Vardy was far better than leaving him on the bench. That was never going to end well and so it proved. There was only one person winning that battle and it wasn’t Puel.

Did you know? Leicester striker Vardy has scored in each of his past four league games against Huddersfield (five goals in total), including all three in the Premier League (four goals).

The Crooks of the Matter

I’ve played at the Bernabeu and the Nou Camp. Anfield and Old Trafford are comparable in terms of atmosphere and meaning. But nothing prepared me for the grand opening of the new White Hart Lane.

Tottenham Hotspur have a history of doing grand rather well and last Wednesday night was no exception.

I had been invited by the BBC to join Radio 5 Live’s commentary team for the game between Spurs and Crystal Palace and it was one of the most memorable nights I’ve ever experienced in football. The game was nothing special – but the significance of this state-of-the-art stadium was.

This is a new era in football. Fans turned up hours before the game buying whatever they could afford and were encouraged not to leave the stadium until well after the final whistle.

Meanwhile, the arena seemed to assume the majesty of an opera house with supporters on both sides, however reluctantly, compelled to behave accordingly. This wasn’t just a football match but an experience. The game? Spurs won 2-0.

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