Now I have seen Chris, @Fi_FplAddict123, post his preview regarding the Hammers I thought I better get my arse into gear.
As the correspondent for Liverpool I now feel the time has come to fulfil my duty and provide everyone with a preview of the Liverpool assets for the upcoming season. The date is currently Monday the 15th of July so all information is up to date as of this point. If any new signings are made over the next few weeks I’ll add a little thread regarding each.
Given the popularity of my beloved club I am prepared for an ‘ear bashing’ from readers who will disagree with my analysis. Bring it on!
I’ll start at the back and will only feature players I believe are considerations or could turn out to be considerations if injuries occur as FPL assets for the upcoming season.
Alisson – GK – £6m
Following his transfer from Roma in the summer of last season the Brazilian stopper had a very successful first season. Picking up the Golden Glove award for most clean sheets in the Premier League (21), the Champions League and most recently the Copa America in which Brazil were crowned champions.
This season I expect a very similar score from the bearded beauty as last season (176). An ever present last season he is a nailed on starter and will feature in every minute barring injury. He is a solid pick and will almost definitely be in the top 3 highest scoring GKs when the season closes.
But (yes there is a but). Is he really worth considering taking up one of your 3 Liverpool slots? No. not in my opinion. With so many assets around the Liverpool squad I feel he slips down the pecking order.
Although he ranked 2nd amongst GKs,by racking up 771 BPS, he actually only got 9 Bonus points. If you compare this to Cardiff’s Etheridge, who scored 775 BPS yet doubled Alisson’s bonus with 18 points. Now you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand the reason for this and for that reason I think the likes of VVD, Robbo, TAA, Mane and Salah and possibly even Gomez/Matip (whoever claims that CB slot) offer better options into the Liverpool defensive assets.
VERDICT – Good option but money probably better spent elsewhere in the Liverpool team.
Virgil Van Dijk – DEF – £6.5m
Coming in at £6.5m and £0.5m less than his full-backs makes VVD a very interesting option. Much is said of the attacking assets of Liverpool and the creativity of the full backs but believe me the successful season from Liverpool last season was predominantly down to this guy. He has everything pace,power,passing,heading and most importantly a cool and commanding nature.
Scoring 4 goals and adding 4 assists on top of his 20 clean sheets was a really impressive first full season for the recently crowned ‘Player of the year’ in the PL and currently bookies favourite to lift the Balon D’or. Out of the defenders from Liverpool I would say he is the most likely to emulate his goal and assist returns from last season especially given the introduction of VAR which should prevent him from being man handled as much from set-pieces. VAR could also increase his assist potential for penalties awarded if the previously mentioned is not adhered to.
Other than Alisson and Salah he was the only player to feature in all 38 of Liverpool’s Premier League fixtures last season. With 932 BPS he was ranked 1st out of all defenders which yielded him 22 Bonus points which was ranked 3rd behind is team mates Robertson (29) and TAA (25).
In my opinion he is arguably the best defensive option from Liverpool providing he stays fit because if he is fit – he plays. He will not be affected by rotation.
VERDICT – Great pick and better value than his defensive team mates.
Andy Robertson – DEF – £7m
Coming in at £7m was seen as bit of a bargain by most of the Twitter community and I couldn’t agree more. A stellar season from the Scottish left back saw him smash the record (previously held by Leighton Baines) for the most points scored by a defender in the history of FPL. He also created the most big chances from defenders with 15. I believe the extra emphasis on wingers Mane and Salah from opposing teams gave the Liverpool full backs more space to provide creativity coupled with the defensively minded midfielders of Hendo, Fabinho, Gini and Milner filling in the gaps when these guys bombed forward. This may not be the case for the upcoming season as I expect opposing managers to tactically nullify (or at least try to) the attacking threat posed down the flanks. For that reason I believe that Robertson’s 12 assists from last year will not be replicated and I feel he will struggle to make double figure assists for the upcoming season.
Unlike team mates VVD and TAA, Robertson doesn’t really offer a goal threat. Robertson only manged 16 shots with only 5 of them being on target giving him an xG of 1.1. Compare this to his team mates VVD (xG of 3.1) and TAA (xG of 1.9).
However, I do think that he is still a great option as I believe that next season Liverpool will again be defensively solid and will continue to rack up the clean sheets.
VERDICT -Good pick but 3rd behind VVD and TAA in my opinion.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – DEF – £7m
The rise to fame of the local lad has been nothing short of phenomenal.
Since making his full debut (starting XI) in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in January 2017 the young right-back has gone on to make 73 first team appearances scoring 4 times and assisting 19 as well as breaking into the England squad.. Last season though is where he really caught the eye by ultimately making the right back spot his own. He started 29 games scoring 1 goal and assisting 13 which was the most in the league from defenders and the 4th most overall behind the likes of Hazard, Sterling and Fraser. I think that Alexander-Arnold has the potential to emulate last season stats given he is trusted with the majority of set-pieces at the club. Last season he took 93 set-pieces which was only second behind the phenomenon that is James Milner. Yet this season I expect Milner to feature less which would in turn mean TAA will be given more responsibility.
Considering he played less minutes (mainly due to injury) than Robertson 3219 v 2466 he scored 1 more goal and recorded 1 more assist.
However many FPL managers are concerned about the risk of rotation with Alexander-Arnold. Yes, as it stands he is more of a rotation risk than the likes of VVD and Robertson but I think that as long as he stays fit he will play 30+ games which should be enough to at least match his team mates in FPL points.
VERDICT -Great pick and 1st name in my FPL squad.
Sadio Mane – MID – £11.5m
Prior to the game release there was lots of chatter in the FPL Twitter community about the likes of Mane and particularly Salah being re-classified as forwards. Thankfully this didn’t happen.
However, whereas Salah’s price dropped £0.5m his African team mate Mane had a £2.5m increase after completing his best returns season in FPL with 22 goals and 3 assists making him the joint top goal scorer in FPL along with team mate Salah and Arsenal’s Aubameyang.
Although he had a price increase and is now the 3rd most expensive midfielder in the game he could easily justify that price tag if he continues his great goal scoring form from last year.
Mane’s form last season was sensational which saw him eclipse his previously highest goal scoring tally of 13 but his 3 assists was actually his worst since he arrived in the PL with Southampton in the 2014/15 season. With that in mind I actually expect Mane’s goal tally to be roughly the same for the upcoming season whilst adding more assists.
With the form and creative potential of Liverpool’s full backs last season I think the way opposing teams set this season up may actually afford the Liverpool wingers more space than they had last season.
Mane is rarely anywhere near set-pieces which dampens the appeal of his creativity but his explosive pace, clinical finishing and new found aerial ability means goal scoring chances will again be frequent.
With all that being said…..
There are two reasons why I am reluctant about choosing Mane for the start of the season. 1) Senegal’s progress to the Final in the AFCON will mean that Mane will undoubtedly arrive back later than all the other members of the Liverpool squad which will mean he will probably miss the majority of pre-season and possibly a couple of PL games. 2) Quite simply Mo Salah.
VERDICT -Great option but worth the £1m saving over Salah?
Mo Salah – MID – £12.5m
Since Salah returned to the PL his FPL status has been unbelievable. With back to back No.1 highest scoring ranks in the game the label after last season of being ‘a one season wonder’ as well and truly been put to bed.
I believe the fact that he has stayed classified as a midfielder, the increase in Mane’s price to £11.5m and the £0.5m drop in his own price has only heightened his appeal.
If we compare him to Mane on all the matrixes of what are classed as key statistics he outscores him across the board.
Even though he again finished as the top points scorer in FPL and the joint top scorer in the Premier League I believe that particularly from an FPL perspective the ‘Egyptian King’ under-performed last season, which seems crazy to say!
Since Salah’s rise to fame in Italy following his stint at Chelsea, firstly with Fiorentina and then after with Roma, he has been a goal scoring machine. Since the 2015/16 season at Roma to date he has scored 105 goals and 52 assists in 4 seasons (187 appearances). Yes 157 goal involvements in 4 seasons. In the Premier League with Liverpool over the past 2 seasons he has scored 54 goals and had 24 assists in 74 appearances. Still not convinced?
Ok, last season Salah led all midfielders in shots, shots on target, shots inside the box, big chances and xG. Creatively he wasn’t bad either being ranked 10th for key passes, 4th for big chances created, 3rd for xA and T4th for assists.
What you get from Salah is consistent returns and the potential for explosive double digit returns.
As I stated earlier I believe that Salah underperformed last season and this season I expect him to finish with an overall points of somewhere between last season (259) and his record breaking 1st season (303).
VERDICT -Excellent pick – Prime captain material and should be ignored at your peril.
Roberto Firmino – FOR – £9.5m
What Bobby offers Liverpool from a non-FPL point of view can’t be understated. His movement, vision, intelligence and work rate is second to none from all the forwards in the Premier League in my opinion. He is already a real favourite among the fans and on his way to become one of the legends. The way Liverpool tactically line up is centred around the Brazilian front man and a role that no other current member of the Liverpool squad is able to fulfil. With that being said is he a potential fantasy asset? This is probably a topic of debate as there are two things in particular that stand out in his favour. Firstly he is nailed on and won’t be rotated (unless a new signing arrives). Secondly his price is again relatively generous considering he is a forward for one of the most attacking teams in the league.
If we look at FPL players who come in around the same price bracket this is how his numbers add up from last season:
As you can see from the above stats the options of players in and around Firmino’s price bracket post very similar returns (Jesus aside who really only featured from the bench for City last season). The creative quality of Bobby is where he outshines his rivals which comes as no surprise given his role in the team.
Although I feel that Firmino is a good fantasy option there is one big reason why myself and probably many other managers will not be considering him. That reason is that we can only choose 3 players from any given club and unfortunately for Bobby there are simply better options in the Liverpool squad as I have previously discussed. On top of this he is not your typical ‘goal scorer’ He is more of a false nine than a number 9! He is always going to be as likely to create goals as score them and the likes of Lacazette, Vardy and even Jesus (if her gets more game time) are probably better picks.
VERDICT -Good option but better value in other clubs as not 1 of the best 3 Liverpool options.
The options above are what I consider to be good or great options and should definitely be considered.
There are a few other players who have the potential to emerge as solid options but not worth considering until we know a little more. Here are those options.
Joe Gomez – DEF – £5.5m Joel Matip £5.5m Dejan Lovren £5.5m
What seemed to be a breakthrough season for the young defender, after starting 12 of the first 15 Premier League games, cruelly came to an end for Gomez after a needless tackle by Burnley’s Ben Mee saw him miss the majority of last season. The match away to Burnley in early December proved to be his last start of the season after suffering a serious ankle injury.
Cameroon defender Joel Matip came in for the injured Gomez and impressed enough to limit World Cup finalist Dejan Lovren’s PL starts to just 11. This was partly due to his form and Lovren’s own injury problems.
I have grouped these 3 together as in my opinion the 2nd CB slot is wide open for any of these 3 to make that starting berth theirs alongside big Virg. Pre-season will be huge for these three to prove to Klopp that they deserve to be starters. Personally I would like to see Gomez in there but I think time will tell as to who Klopp favours. It may even be a case that the 3 are rotated and given similar playing time alongside VVD.
VERDICT – If any of these 3 can nail down a starting spot or god forbid it VVD gets injured then I think £5.5m could be great value. Watch and wait.
Naby Keita – MID – £6m
Last year’s new boy if I am perfectly honest ‘flattered to deceive’. That being said I still think there is great potential there for improvement. The 24 year old Guinea international suffered a frustrating first season at Liverpool, struggling to adapt to the physicality and speed of the English game. He was often out-muscled by his opponents and was caught on the ball far too often, especially early in the season. However later in the season he did look like he was starting to adapt to the English game by showing signs as to why Klopp shelled out £54m for the former RB Leipzig star. His season was hampered by niggling injuries and consistency of starts; he only started 16 games last season (1394 minutes). He does offer a more attacking threat than most of the other midfield options at the club (Salah and Mane aside) and his previous seasons in the Bundesliga does show there is plenty of scope for improvement – 31 goals and 23 assists in 117 appearances. However at £6m there are probably better options out there in the likes of Pereyra, Townsend, Ward-Prowse, Iwobi and others all posting better numbers than the Liverpool No. 8.
VERDICT – Monitor and wait and see is my advice.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – MID – £6.5m
The Ox only played 19 mins last season in the premier league after rupturing is cruciate ligament in the 1st leg of the semi-final against Roma in the 17-18 season. Now at 25, the midfielder really has to realise his potential by cementing his place in the Liverpool side. In order to do this the former Arsenal winger needs to stay clear of injury as he has continually missed large chunks of a season.
Prior to that horrific injury against Roma it really started to look like the Ox was going to be a real asset to the Liverpool side with his strength and pace offering the reds something different to his central midfield team mates. He scored 3 goals and 7 assists in his 14 Premier league starts that season along with 2 more goals in 4 starts in the Champions League.
If he can stay free from injury and become a first time regular then he may become an FPL asset.
VERDICT – Wait and see, could be great value at £6.5m
Xherdan Shaqiri – MID – £6.5M
Coming in at the same price as the Ox the diminutive Swiss international could also prove to be a bargain. By no means first choice and very much a squad player the creative midfielder is a wait and see. An injury to a key 1st team midfielder could open up more playing time for Shaqiri but to start with we can’t afford to waste a Liverpool slot on a bit part player. His previous seasons in the Premier League at Stoke and lasts season flurry of cameo appearances clearly show what he is capable of. He has 21 goals and 22 assists over the last 4 season which is not a bad return for a £6.5m asset, but by no means eye catching.
VERDICT – Like the Ox – Wait and see, possibly could be great value at £6.5m
Divock Origi – FOR – £5.5M
A fantastic price for the Belgian international that would be an absolute steal if he was a regular starter. However, this is not the case and is not going to happen at Liverpool. Even an Injury to any one of the likes of Mane, Salah or Firmino still wouldn’t guarantee the Champions League hero a 1st team place. He will again be a bit part player for Liverpool with the vast majority of his Premier League minutes coming from the bench. Yes he may get a few goals like last season but too much of a risk to select. A waste of a Liverpool slot in my opinion – even at £5.5m.
VERDICT – Only to be considered if injuries to key players gives him consistent starts.
Rhian Brewster – FOR – £?
The former Chelsea youth player (hopefully not another Solanke) is yet to make a first team appearance for the reds due to a terrible ankle injury whilst playing for the U23s over 12 months ago really hampering his progress. Hotly tipped to be this next big young talent to come out of the Liverpool academy this will be a breakthrough season for the forward. With 20 goals in 25 games for the England under 17’s the striker won both the player of the tournament and the golden boot helping England to win U17s World Cup in 2017.
I have already tweeted about this and received endless flack on Twitter from ‘the haters’.
Like I said on Twitter – let me make myself perfectly clear on this. Is Rhian going oust the likes of Firmino et al? No.
Not yet priced by FPL but likely to be £4.5m, is he a good very cheap bench fodder to consider? No, he doesn’t merit taking up one of those 3 priceless Liverpool slots.
Will he become a better option than Origi as back up? No-Not at the moment but this kid does have potential to become a real option from the bench for Liverpool as the season progresses.
Klopp has already praised the youngster stating he has plans on how to use Brewster this season. What are those plans? More than likely League Cup appearances and a few cameo appearances in games that we are comfortably winning.
So why even mention Brewster? Exactly for the reason Klopp mentioned above. The youngster could really come to the party this season. He is a natural goal scorer blessed with pace, power, vision and maturity and if god forbids we suffer multiple injuries to the first team regulars he has the ability to become the next ‘Michael Owen’. He has already scored 3 goals in the 2 pre-season friendlies (45 minutes in each match) we have played so far, albeit against Tranmere and Bradford City but keep tabs on him in pre-season to see what he has the potential to offer this Liverpool team for the upcoming season.
VERDICT -Watch and wait. Will this be his breakthrough season?
That wraps up my review of the Liverpool assets and I’ll just add a brief review of a few notable absentees.
James Milner – MID – £5.5m
Absolute bargain if he was to be nailed on or at least start 25+ games – Unfortunately I really don’t see this happening and if anything I think his game time will reduce from last season.
Georginio Wijnaldum – MID – £5.5M
Also priced at £5.5m Wijnaldum has been a great player for Liverpool. Unfortunately he doesn’t offer enough goals or assists for him to be considered an FPL option even though he will get consistent starts.