Hello everyone, firstly I would like to thank James and Sujan (Editor’s Note: our absolute pleasure!) from the Planet #FPL team for this wonderful opportunity to write about Liverpool and FPL. This is the first article I am writing and since it is pre-season, I will cover the below topics for this inaugural article.
1) The Must have pick
2) Differential picks
3) Defensive picks
4) Team summary
Without further ado, let’s jump straight in.
Must have pick
Fairly obvious and I cannot stress enough on this pick being “must have”. Yes I am talking about the Egyptian King Mo Salah. With his PL experience earlier through a brief spell at Chelsea, he joined Liverpool last summer on the back of a decent season with Roma. But no one could have imagined what happened next. Salah got 32 goals, 12 assists and smashed all FPL records en-route a massive 303 FPL points. He made the whole FPL world kneel in front of him as he not only was a must have pick, but was also a mandatory captaincy option and if you didn’t captain him, your OR would plunge (as many who didn’t captain him against Watford would have faced). He defined consistency in FPL and has understandably been awarded an extremely steep price hike to £13m. Despite being the highest priced player in the game, his ownership is a whopping 50.7%. Half the players have drafted him in and I think he will be captained by most owners as well. This simply means that while not having him, gives you a good balanced squad on paper, the consequences of missing out on his hauls (when captained by most) will set you adrift right at the start of the season. That is a risk not worth taking in my opinion, and if over the course of the season, he isn’t performing enough you can easily downgrade to any other midfielder in the game. But on the back of last season, 2 goals at the WC in 2 games and a good form shown in just 2 preseason games coupled with his ownership makes him an essential and “must have” pick.
No Salah = No gains. Simple as that.
Liverpool were one of the best attacking teams in Europe last year, not just in the PL and that shows through the massive ownership of Salah (50.7%) and Firmino (36.0%). Not just that, Mane (13.0%), goal threat VVD (15.4%), attacking full backs Robertson (15.9%) and TAA (15.3%) all boast decent ownership. Hence Liverpool don’t offer any clear differentials but I think there are two decent options that can be shrewd differentials.
- Firstly Naby Keita (6.4%) – Liverpool closed the deal for Keita in the Jan 2018 window but with the player completing the transfer 6 months later in the summer window this year. He joined the club on 1st July and already looks settled in during pre-season. He is a box to box midfielder and will get a lot of freedom in midfield with Fabinho sitting deep. He has 14 goals 12 assists in 52 starts across the last 2 seasons and while that is not an excellent record, I think he represents pretty good value for his decent price of £7.5m. He has been a creative force in pre-season and if those are signs of things to come, Naby Keita will have a decent FPL season.
- Another option at the start of the season could be Xherdan Shaqiri (6.4%). He has been largely underwhelming since his move to the PL but had a much better season last year scoring 8 goals and assisting 9 for a relegated Stoke. That is pretty good for a team that finished bottom 3 and more often than not it was Shaqiri who won pts for Stoke singlehandedly. He might be a starter for the first few games with Firmino joining the training camp very late after the World Cup. Shaqiri looked extremely sharp against United, got a decent assist topping it with a cracker of an overhead kick. If he starts the first few games, he might be a good shout for someone looking to save some funds in midfield. He is priced similar to Keita at £7.5m.
You will be surprised that I am writing a completely different section on Liverpool defenders but the most expensive CB buy, most expensive GK buy and the emergence of TAA and Robertson has made me dedicate a section to just the defensive picks from Liverpool from a FPL perspective.
Before I start, I think Allison, VVD, Robertson or TAA are all good picks, but I will go through each one of them in order of my preference of picking them for your teams.
- First up is Andrew Robertson, Liverpool fans were left scratching their heads when Moreno played most of the first half of the season keeping Robbo on the bench and they were right in doing so as once Robertson came into the starting XI, his performances were truly superb. 1 goal, 5 assists and 10 clean sheets in 22 games is a brilliant return and the way he bombarded in attack, his attacking returns seem lower than what he can actually achieve. Priced at £6.0m, he has been rewarded a price rise of 1m, but even at that price, Robbo can be a terrific option. With his attacking prowess, and Liverpool’s enhanced defensive capabilities he is a shoe in for my FPL squad. His ownership is 15.9% currently and will grow over the season
- Next is Trent Alexander Arnold, the youngster really emerged last season. The injury to Clyne last season, gave both TAA and Gomez a shot at RB and the former really made the position his own in the 2nd half of the season. He has a goal and couple assists to his name last season, but his attacking prowess was for all to see. He had 8 clean sheets and 10 bonus points to his name with game time of just over 17 games. Another strong reason to consider him for your teams is his price point. At £0m he is the cheapest route into the Liverpool defense that kept 17 clean sheets last term. TAA also has a good FK on him now and then and is constantly raiding the right wing. This coupled with his relatively high ownership of 15.3% makes him a terrific option especially if you cannot stretch your budget to get Robbo in. Despite competition expect him to play the majority of the games as he showed great temperament in big games last season that also earned him an England call up for the World Cup which is massive for such a young player. Expecting big things from the young star this season as well.
- The last options would be Allison and Van Dijk in that order of preference. Both being the most expensive buys in their categories, they were signed by Liverpool to bolster a defence that has been frail for years. The improvement with Van Dijk was quite clear last season. VVD marshalled the defense with confidence and suddenly Liverpool’s defence was much better in the 2nd half of the season. However, the GK issue was yet to be sorted and Karius’ howlers in the UCL final reemphasized the need for a good GK, again something that Liverpool have been lacking for years. Liverpool went and broke the transfer record for a 2nd successive window, getting in Allison Becker. With these defensive reinforcements, Liverpool will be a much better force at the back. Both these players rank behind Robbo and TAA purely because they majorly have clean sheets to offer, while the former ones have a lot of attacking output on offer. Allison priced £5 less than VVD makes him a slightly better option, however Van Dijk has an aerial threat to score occasionally. Both have ownership of greater than 10% with VVD (15.4%) and Allison (11.0%) currently.
As you can clearly see, everyone except for VVD’s partner at CB has excellent ownership and hence at least one of the Liverpool defenders/GK is essential.
As you have gone through this preview, you can see that the ownership of plenty of Liverpool players is very high, with two of the highest owned players in the game currently being Mo Salah and Firmino. Looking at that and the returns of these players last season, a double up (1 attacker 1 defender) is almost essential and I would recommend even tripling up. I am expecting huge things from us this season (trying to keep my bias aside as much as possible) and think 2 or 3 Liverpool players will help your FPL teams immensely.
We scored the 2nd most goals last season in the PL and with the shoring up of the defence over the last two windows, we can be a really strong side this season and FPL points will be incoming well from all the positions on the bench.
I will be writing many more articles related to Liverpool and FPL throughout the season but do reach out to me on Twitter @FPLFanatix, if you need more help or have queries related to FPL or specifically Liverpool in FPL.
Until then, signing out
*All TSB ownerships correct as of August 1st