- Goals: Sadio Mané (£11.9m), Andrew Robertson (£7.0m), Diogo Jota (£6.3m) | Alexandre Lacazette (£8.5m)
- Assists: Mohamed Salah (£12.1m), Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m)
- Bonus points: Alexander-Arnold x3, Robertson x2, Mané x1
Andrew Robertson (£7.0m) is fast making a case to be considered the best Fantasy Premier League asset among Liverpool defenders this season.
His goal and 10-point haul against Arsenal took him to a total of 20 for the season so far, behind only Timothy Castagne (£5.7m), Tyrone Mings (£5.0m) and Ezri Konsa (£4.5m) among all defenders after three Gameweeks.
Crucially, the left-back is ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) by a total of five points and, unlike his right-sided counterpart, is yet to blank this season.
Robertson assisted in Liverpool’s 4-3 win over Leeds, kept a clean sheet at Chelsea and found the net against Arsenal. In that time, Alexander-Arnold blanked against Leeds, before stringing together two seven-point scores in Gameweeks 2 and 3.
While the right-back is not too far behind his colleague, at a time when Wildcards are the talk of the town, the fact that Robertson is proving better value, by 2.9 points per million spent to 2.0, will not have gone unnoticed.
There is no denying that Robertson is in great form right now but Alexander-Arnold owners will certainly feel rather unfortunate not to come out of Gameweek 3 with more attacking returns.
The right-back enjoyed an evening defined by a constant stream of trademark balls into the box, fired in from deep – and he could easily have racked up a hat-trick of assists.
In the 11th minute, he put up an excellent ball for Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m), whose header back across goal was denied on the line by David Luiz (£5.5m).
Three minutes later, Alexander-Arnold fired in another delightful cross, met by an onrushing Sadio Mané (£11.9m), whose powerful effort was well-saved by Bernd Leno (£5.0m).
Then, in the 20th minute, the right-back unleashed his own shot from range which deflected through a crowd of bodies onto the crossbar.
In the end, Alexander-Arnold’s perseverance in the cross paid off when he found Robertson at the back post to poke home and put Liverpool 2-1 up.
Such a display, which came with maximum bonus points, is almost certainly enough to keep
Latest on the Defensive double-up
Is there still value in the Liverpool double-up? Perhaps not on the clean sheet front, but the attacking returns are helping Alexander-Arnold and Robertson offer plenty of points potential between them.
The Reds are still waiting for their first home clean sheet of the campaign, and they have registered just two from a possible eight since February 24, but their full-backs still scored 17 points between them on Monday night.
That seems to be indicative of what this Liverpool team is all about right now. We have seen this side operate on a ‘risk-versus-reward’ basis for some time now. It is something that will lead to the concession of poor goals, as we have seen against Leeds and Arsenal now, but it also adds to how dangerous Liverpool are at Anfield.
In fact, Alexander-Arnold and Robertson were the very men at fault for Alexandre Lacazette‘s (£9.5m) first-half strike. The right-back was caught stranded high up the pitch, allowing Ainsley Maitland-Niles (£4.9m) to press into leftover space, while Robertson was the man whose clearance went straight to Lacazette’s feet.
But, considering their exploits further up the field led to Liverpool winning the game 3-1, and each full-back coming away with attacking returns, Jurgen Klopp will have no complaints, and maybe Fantasy managers shouldn’t either.
“I didn’t see us really being sloppy in defending. I saw us in one or two passing situations when we gave the ball too easy away, which is just then a problem because to outplay Arsenal you need a quite expansive formation. Losing the ball without any pressure on yourself, that doesn’t make too much sense, that can really hurt you. So in these moments yes, but our defending was really good, really good, because you cannot defend Arsenal for 90 minutes with the quality they have. It’s completely normal that they have chances [and] you need a goalie for that, you need a block for that, you need all these kind of things.” – Jurgen Klopp
Meanwhile, Mané insists on pushing Mohamed Salah (£12.1m) for Fantasy returns once again this season. With three goals in as many matches, the Senegalese international is now only three points behind his Egyptian colleague and, arguably looked the sharper of the two on Monday night.
While Salah had an evening characterised by snatched shots, and in some cases, snatching them away from his colleagues, Mané had the more clear cut opportunities.
He was on hand to gobble up the rebound from Salah’s shot in the 28th minute, and, just after the hour-mark, he clipped wide after a well-worked one-two with Roberto Firmino (£9.4m).
Furthermore, Mané has had the edge over Salah in away matches for the last year, with eight goals on the road to the Egyptian’s four since the start of last season. That particular statistic bodes well for him considering that three of Liverpool’s next five Premier League matches take them away from Anfield.
Meanwhile, Salah owners will feel a little unlucky not to have seen the Egyptian leave Gameweek 3 with two assists. He made an excellent run inside from his right-attacking-midfield station, across Arsenal’s defensive line and fed substitute Diogo Jota (£6.3m) on the left. The former Wolves man looked certain to score, but could only ruffle the side-netting.
And if we are focussing on Liverpool’s road-trip contributions last season, none of Salah’s colleagues registered more assists away from home in 2019/20, Robertson and Alexander-Arnold matching his total of six from over 200 more minutes each.
Time to consider Lacazette?
We are certainly at the point where the Fantasy community should start considering Lacazette for their squads.
Thankfully for the one million FPL managers who sold Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.9m) for Gameweek 3, it was the Frenchman who, once again, represented the chief goal threat for Arsenal.
Lacazette was in the right place to capitalise on Robertson’s 25th-minute error and had two other gilt-edged chances to score at Anfield before Eddie Nketiah (£5.9m) replaced him in the 73rd minute.
That made for a seven-point haul in Gameweek 3, his third of the campaign, which takes him to a total of 21. That is only one less than the similarly-priced Danny Ings (£8.4m) and Richarlison (£8.0m).
Crucially, it also means that Lacazette is one of the most reliable Fantasy assets thus far, yet to blank and about to face Sheffield United (home), Manchester City (away) and Leicester City (home). Each of those clubs has conceded at least four times this season, giving up an average of 1.75 goals per game.
Perhaps the only thing that counts against Lacazette is his game-time. Given his scoring record, it seems unlikely that Arteta will bench him anytime soon, but it is still worth noting that he is yet to complete 90 minutes this season, averaging 78.3 per outing in 2020/21.
Latest from the managers
There were plenty of developments on the injury front for this game. Thiago Alcantara (£6.0m) was missing for Liverpool, but Joe Gomez (£5.4m) slotted back into central defence and James Milner (£5.4m) returned from his yellow flag on the bench.
“After the international break, (Thiago) will be fine, for sure. That’s the situation, in the moment. He is not fit enough to be involved today, but that’s it.” – Jurgen Klopp
Kieran Tierney (£5.4m) was back for Arsenal, which should boost their already strong clean sheet potential for the Sheffield United game. There is perhaps less certainty about starters in the Gunners’ back-three than before Monday night though, as new signing Gabriel (£5.1m) was left on the bench, Arteta preferring David Luiz (£5.5m).
“(Gabriel) has done really well, adapted really well. He’s played a few games already with us. David [Luiz] has huge experience and has played here many, many times. He gives us something different.” – Mikel Arteta
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Robertson, van Dijk, Gomez, Alexander-Arnold; Keita (Milner 79′), Wijnaldum, Fabinho; Mané (D Jota 80′), Firmino (Minamino 90+1′), Salah.
Arsenal XI (3-4-3): Leno; Tierney, D Luiz, Holding; Maitland-Niles, Xhaka (Ceballos 60′), Elneny, Bellerín; Aubameyang, Lacazette (Nketiah 74′), Willian (Pépé 68′).
Lessons Learned from FPL Gameweek 3
- Brighton and Hove Albion 2-3 Manchester United
- Crystal Palace 1-2 Everton
- West Bromwich Albion 3-3 Chelsea
- Burnley 0-1 Southampton
- Sheffield United 0-1 Leeds United
- Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Newcastle United
- Manchester City 2-5 Leicester City
- West Ham United 4-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Fulham 0-3 Aston Villa
- Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal
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