The first name in the starting XI in our user-nominated Team of the Season is Alisson (£5.9m).
The Liverpool goalkeeper finished 2018/19 as the highest-scoring Fantasy Premier League player in his position and as the most-owned shot-stopper in the game, too.
Alisson gained a 41.18% share of the vote in our end-of-season poll for Goalkeeper of the Year, finishing comfortably clear of Neil Etheridge (£4.6m) and Ederson (£5.7m).
|Player||Share of vote|
Based on the raw numbers, it is perhaps no surprise that Alisson was handed the accolade by the users of our site.
The Brazil international was the Golden Glove winner for 2018/19, registering 21 clean sheets in 38 Premier League appearances.
The last goalkeeper to beat that tally was Petr Cech (£4.7m) back in 2004/05.
Liverpool’s backline was also the best in the division in 2018/19, with the Reds shipping only 22 league goals all season.
Jurgen Klopp’s side conceded on just ten occasions at Anfield, with 12 of Alisson’s 21 shut-outs coming on home soil.
Last season’s Golden Glove winner, David de Gea (£5.7m), also happened to be voted as our Goalkeeper of the Year in 2017/18.
De Gea’s FPL points total in that season (172) was similar to Alisson’s (176) in 2018/19 but it is fair to say that the Liverpool custodian didn’t have to work as hard for his returns as the Manchester United goalkeeper did.
Only in 11 of Alisson’s 38 appearances did the Brazilian register a save point in FPL and the Liverpool number one didn’t make more than five stops in a single league match all season.
Alisson’s total of 76 saves in 38 starts was some way short of de Gea’s tally in 2017/18 (115 saves in 37 appearances).
A lack of saves and the attacking contributions of the players in front of him cost Alisson on the Bonus Points System, with eight Premier League goalkeepers finishing 2018/19 with more bonus points.
It should be said, though, that de Gea only ended up with one more bonus point (ten v nine) in 2017/18 despite the Spaniard’s heroics.
That tends to be the lot of the premium goalkeeper in FPL, given the number of points being scored by their teammates elsewhere on the pitch: not one Premier League goalkeeper priced at £5.0m or more registered in excess of ten bonus points in 2018/19.
When Alisson was called into action, he was a reliable pair of hands: his save percentage of 79.2% was the best in the division among first-choice goalkeepers, while only Hugo Lloris (£5.4m) and Lukasz Fabianski (£4.7m) had better expected goals prevented (xGP) figures than Alisson’s +5.50.
Alisson had the best FPL points-per-match average (4.6) of any first-choice goalkeeper in 2018/19 and consistent returns were the hallmark of his season.
The Liverpool goalkeeper started off his debut Premier League campaign with three clean sheets and no save points – his 2018/19 in a microcosm.
The Brazilian registered six FPL points on 13 occasions over the year.
Alisson never went more than two Gameweeks without a shut-out in the first half of the season, although there were some relatively dry spells thereafter: Liverpool recording only clean sheet between Gameweeks 20 and 25 and conceding in every match between Gameweeks 30 and 33.
Twelve of Alisson’s 21 clean sheets came in the first half of the season.
The Liverpool goalkeeper and his backline finished 2018/19 strongly, however, recording four shut-outs in the final five Gameweeks.
Alisson’s spell from Gameweek 26-29 was his best of the season, with clean sheets banked in all four matches and save points registered in three of those fixtures.
The Brazil international’s Gameweek 27 score of ten points (Alisson gaining a save point and maximum bonus in the 0-0 draw with Manchester United) was his highest of the season and the only time he hit double figures in 2018/19.
The early-season hat-trick of clean sheets propelled Alisson’s ownership past the one-million mark, where it remained for the rest of 2018/19.
Alisson’s popularity peaked in Gameweek 23 when he found himself in 1,554,592 FPL squads going into the 4-3 win over Crystal Palace.
The Liverpool goalkeeper’s price rose to £6.0m for the first time in that very same Gameweek, having steadily increased from a starting price of £5.5m.
Given the form of the defenders in front of him in the second half of the season, it is perhaps no surprise that Alisson’s popularity and price dipped slightly towards the end of 2018/19, although he still finished the campaign as the most-owned goalkeeper in FPL (on 23.4%).
The attacking returns recorded by Andrew Robertson (£6.7m), Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.8m) and Virgil van Dijk (£6.7m) this calendar year came at the expense of Alisson in terms of ownership.
All of these defenders offered the same route to clean sheets but the attacking ambition of the Reds’ full-backs, in particular, provided other avenues for points.
The Gameweek 38 ownership figures among the top 10k – a more reliable barometer given the millions of inactive teams in FPL overall in May – showed just how much more popular van Dijk, Robertson and Alexander-Arnold were by the season’s end:
We will surely see a rise in Alisson’s FPL starting price next season, most likely to £6.0m based on the cost of de Gea at the beginning of 2018/19.
The rest of Liverpool’s first-choice backline will follow suit, with van Dijk, Robertson and especially Alexander-Arnold set for significant price rises.
Alisson may well start off a full million cheaper than Alexander-Arnold and Robertson in 2019/20 but we could well see the Liverpool goalkeeper’s overall popularity dip next season based on the late-season exploits of those two forward-thinking options.
With only three Liverpool slots permitted and the likes of Sadio Mane (£10.3m), Mohamed Salah (£13.2m) and Roberto Firmino (£9.3m) to consider further forward, will there be many FPL managers plumping for Mr Consistency between the sticks in preference to the more explosive Alexander-Arnold and Robertson in front of him?
As the below table shows, Liverpool’s three key defenders outperformed their goalkeeper for both value and average points per match in FPL this season:
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While the inevitable price rises for van Dijk, Robertson and Alexander-Arnold may level the playing field regarding value for money, it would be difficult to see Alisson overhauling the points-per-match averages of Liverpool’s two full-backs in particular.
Alexander-Arnold and/or Robertson may very well be the first names on the teamsheet in many Fantasy managers’ squads in 2019/20.
Should FPL have any price-related shocks up their sleeves when the game is relaunched this summer, of course, we might have to reassess the dependable Alisson’s worth as a route into the Liverpool backline.