Back-to-back home clashes against West Brom and Swansea in the upcoming Gameweek have already earned Liverpool’s Fantasy assets significant investment. As mentioned in last night’s Digest, though, the following week’s blank also plays a part in our transfer policies prior to this Saturday’s deadline – load up on too many Liverpool and Swansea players and you’re left with a depleted squad for Gameweek 27, potentially facing points hits in order to field a starting XI. While Fantasy managers contemplate their tactics, we run the rule over the Reds:
Brendan Rodgers’ side prepare for the double Gameweek with the best home defensive record in the Premier League. Having conceded six goals in their first three games at Anfield, with City, Arsenal and United all notching twice, Liverpool have subsequently shipped just four goals in the following nine, with seven clean sheets accrued along the way. Their last six home games have harvested three or more goals on four occasions for the hosts – offering plenty potential at both ends of the pitch, then.
The Baggies arrive on Merseyside next Monday evening in dire away form – Steve Clarke’s side have lost five of their last six on the road and conceded two or more in all of those defeats. They have failed to score twice in that run, away to Arsenal and United and have notched once at Swansea and Everton – of the two fixtures, this certainly looks the most appetising in terms of goals for Liverpool.
Swansea look a tougher nut to crack. With just 10 goals conceded in 13 games on their travels, Michael Laudrup’s side are joint-top along with City for best away defence. The Swans have shipped just three goals in their last six away matches, producing three clean sheets, but have scored in only one of those six fixtures – suggesting that, while they may limit Liverpool’s attacking potential, they may struggle to break down the Reds’ rearguard.
The Likely Lads
Pepe Reina appears on the radar mainly due to the blank Gameweek 27. With the Spaniard on board, you could have five players for the double, subbing one out with your free transfer to leave the remaining four on the bench for Gameweek 27 – given there are doubts over Michel Vorm’s fitness for Swansea, Reina seems the safest keeper option, thus utilising all of your squad over the upcoming two Gameweeks.
Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique offer the best potential of points at both ends of the pitch. The full-backs have produced a goal and four assists apiece thus far, with Enrique slightly edging it by six bonus points to five. Having recently returned from a hamstring injury, Enrique made his first start since Gameweek 20 at City last weekend and although he was subbed off on 74 minutes, this was purely down to stamina issues as he continues to build up his match fitness. Having returned 4.2 points per game to Johnson’s 3.9 (albeit with a couple of appearances up front) Enrique’s kinder Fantasy Premier League (FPL) price tag of 5.7 to 6.4 could sway many.
After a couple of lacklustre campaigns, Steven Gerrard has returned to Fantasy form of old with a series of outstanding displays taking him to second in the FPL midfield standings. The Reds’ skipper has now scored or assisted in 10 of the last 12 Gameweeks; a clear sign of his consistency heading into the double. Gerrard has returned three goals, four assists and seven bonus points in his last four home matches and with spot-kick duties, in addition to a share of set-pieces and corners, an ownership of 10% is climbing steadily now.
Second top scoring FPL forward, Luis Suarez has also impressed in recent Anfield matches. The Uruguayan has produced four goals, an assist and eight bonus points over his last three home fixtures and is the most popular Liverpool player by some margin, with over 34% Fantasy managers already snapping him up. While Gerrard offers a viable armband alternative, a big Gameweek for Suarez could prove problematic for those who choose to overlook him, given his superior ownership. Despite a recent change in role, Suarez still seems to be delivering – he has scored in two of his three starts alongside Daniel Sturridge, either from the left in a 4-3-3 or in “the hole” in a 4-2-3-1.
The January move from Chelsea has had an immediate impact on Daniel Sturridge’s Fantasy potential. He’s scored or assisted in all four of his league appearances already, with goals against United and City highlighting his ability to deliver regardless of fixture. Sturridge’s appeal is also boosted by the fact he is cup-tied for Liverpool’s upcoming Europa League games against Zenit St Petersburg – the first leg, in Russia, comes three days after the West Brom game and three days before the Swansea fixture. Coming in at 7.6 in FPL to Suarez’s 10.7, he’s far more budget friendly, providing he shrugs off a thigh problem that has forced him out of England’s midweek friendly with Brazil.
The last few matches have seen Jordan Henderson stake a claim for inclusion after a series of strong displays. The former Sunderland man has started five of the last six and has chipped in with a couple of goals, a pair of assists, four bonus points and two sets of double figures – for 5.3 in FPL, he’s proven decent value for money of late.
Stewart Downing has seemingly cemented a regular role under Rodgers over the past few months. While the likes of Raheem Sterling drift slightly out the picture, Downing has now started each of the last 10 and has produced attacking points in two of his last three home fixtures. Like Henderson, a modest price tag of 5.7 may appeal to those struggling to free up cash for big-hitters.