Glen Johnson picked the perfect opportunity to propel himself onto Fantasy radars with a stunning strike in Liverpool’s 3-2 win over former club West Ham last Sunday afternoon. With Jose Enrique remaining doubtful for the Reds’ home clash against Villa this weekend, Johnson looks an enticing option as Brendan Rodgers’ in-form side prepare for a favourable run of upcoming fixtures over the festive period:
Mainly utilised as a left-back this season, Johnson only recently returned to his natural position on the opposite side of defence in Gameweek 13 and, as he becomes accustomed to his right-back role once again, has started to pick up the points. His goal and maximum Fantasy Premier League (FPL) bonus haul against the Hammers followed on from an assist and a couple of bonus against Southampton in Gameweek 15, meaning Johnson has now returned double figures in each of his last two appearances. The fact that he had previously produced one assist all season is a clear indication of his recent improvement.
Lucas’ return to the Liverpool first-team seems also to have played a part in Johnson’s upturn in performance. With the Brazilian content to sit in front of the back-four and break up the opposition play, Rodgers is finally able to push on both his full-backs, with Johnson and Enrique lending weight to the Reds’ attacks from deep. With Enrique now preferred in defence again following a brief out of position stint in the front three, Johnson is perhaps edging ahead in our Fantasy thoughts after the Spaniard admitted earlier today he still has concerns over the hamstring injury that forced him off at Upton Park.
Looking at the next five fixtures, it’s difficult not to be swayed by Liverpool’s assets. At the back, in particular, they have been hugely consistent in recent games at Anfield – just a single goal conceded in the last five in front of their own fans. Investment in Rodgers’ defence looks a sound option, then, with Villa, Fulham and Sunderland all set to roll up to Merseyside between now and Gameweek 21 and, while a trip to Stoke is always tricky, the Reds also travel to QPR, offering further chance of points before their schedule takes a turn for the worse and the winter wildcard comes into play.
With just one defeat in their last 11, Liverpool are clearly starting to hit their stride under Rodgers and Johnson could prove crucial over the hectic next few matches. A price of 6.3 in FPL and 6.5 in the Sky Sports game may deter many, though an ownership of less than 3% in FPL underlines his case as a real in-form differential worth considering.