Pro Pundits - Mark

Why I’m refusing to waver on Klopp’s defensive double-up

Mark Sutherns explains why he’s sticking to his guns amid the Liverpool defensive firesale.


I remain defiant when it comes to Liverpool’s full-backs. An avalanche of goals is flushing funds from Fantasy Premier League defences and Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) and Andy Robertson (£7.0m) are rapidly being classified as disposable. But I’m not having it.

I’m not denying the logic. Liverpool have kept just four clean sheets in 13 matches since the restart and the injury to Alisson (£6.0m), a crucial component in Jurgen Klopp’s defensive jigsaw, nudges a hapless Adrian (£4.5m) into the firing line.

That worrying scenario provides a sub-plot to a season that, so far, has seen 144 goals scored, a rate of 3.79 goals per game. That’s a ridiculous figure: the record for a Premier League season was set in 1992/93 when we witnessed a rate of 2.65 goals per game.

So FPL managers are reassessing their team structure and flooding to the major benefactors of the goal rush, notably Spurs’ Harry Kane (£10.6m) and Son Heung-min (£9.1m).

Expensive defenders are being sacrificed and, should Alexander-Arnold and Robertson fail to return in Saturday’s Merseyside derby, the evacuation will only gather pace.

But the recent explosion from the Spurs pair isn’t enough to convince me to give up on my two defensive investments. I may well move funds from Lucas Digne (£6.1m) and Reece James (£5.1m) and replace them with £4.5m options, but I’m remaining steadfast on the Liverpool full-backs.

At this stage, FPL managers normally start to seek out trends and patterns vital to drive our decisions – our transfers, our early-season Wildcards.

But we’ve never experienced a start to the season like this. We’re in the midst of something extreme that, to my mind, makes it impossible to find the comforting foothold of reliable data and form.

So with just this small and extraordinary sample of matches as my reference, I’m refusing to write off a player who, prior to Gameweek 1, was the first name on almost every FPL teamsheet.

At the time of writing, over almost 240,000 managers have sold Alexander-Arnold heading into Saturday’s deadline.

Admittedly, his performances have contributed to that trend. He has been short of his best by some margin and has been strangely peripheral to Liverpool’s play. However, Alexander-Arnold’s numbers remain impressive: only West Ham’s Ryan Fredericks (£4.4m) and Aaron Cresswell (£4.9m) have created more chances among players in his Fantasy position, and with seven efforts on goal, no defender has bettered his direct threat. If you are brave enough to use data given the bizarre four Gameweeks we’ve had, there’s little in the numbers to drive you to sell.

Alexander-Arnold is a player that has provided 28 assists and five goals in his previous two campaigns, with his points tally improving from 185 points to 210. Since the start of the 2019/20 campaign, only Kevin De Bruyne (£11.6m) and Jack Grealish (£7.1m) have created more chances and on Boxing Day last year, the right-back coupled that creativity with an eye for goal to haul of 24-points, a record for a defender in the history of FPL.

Is this really an asset we can reject on the basis of four bizarre Gameweeks?

On Liverpool’s opposite flank, Robertson appears to be reaching new levels as an attacking outlet. He’s overshadowed Alexander-Arnold since the restart, creating more chances (22 vs 20) and more big chances (six versus three), while he’s surely passed the eye test.

The Scot is pouring forward on the left flank, overlapping Mane time and time again. He already has a first goal to his name and there should be more to come.

Fabinho bolsters Liverpool defence as Werner shows promise ahead of West Brom

Liverpool will be backed to be second only to Manchester City for goals scored again this season and, collectively, their full-backs have provided 34% of the assists since the start of the 2018/19 season.

So while the chances of clean sheets in the short-term may be diminished by Adrian’s tenure, Klopp’s side will have to score more goals to win matches and that will surely benefit their primary source of creativity.

And I’m not giving up on defensive returns, either.

We have to expect Klopp to react to the Villa Park mauling. He will surely focus on shutting down the gaps that were exploited in that defeat. The return of Jordan Henderson (£5.4m) and Sadio Mane (£11.9m) – both vital to Liverpool’s pressing game that denies opponents the time to exploit a high line – must also be factored in.

That aforementioned record of four clean sheets from 13 outings includes eight matches when the title was almost in the bag. But Liverpool cannot show any complacency now. Pep Guardiola will demand that his City side match Liverpool’s own relentless consistency, so Klopp will know that he has to quickly find a solution to their defensive frailties.

The fixture list convinces me that I can give him time.

Liverpool face just a Gameweek 8 trip to the Etihad and a home clash with Spurs in Gameweek 13 as major tests before the deadline for the first Wildcard.

So for this FPL manager, Alexander-Arnold and Robertson remain at the status they held before the madness ensued: unique assets who can present outstanding value.

They are investments worthy of that extra five million, particularly when I can compensate for that spend by investigating mid-price assets in attacking areas. We’ve already seen that Grealish, James Rodriguez (£7.6m), Dominic Calvert Lewin (£7.6m) and Michail Antonio (£6.3m) are options that offer the potential of returns that keep pace or even better the top tier players.

It’s going to take a Jose Mourinho team to go on scoring five and six goals a game to convince me otherwise. At that point, the madness shifts to a whole new level.


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Mark Mark created the beast. He's now looking to tame it.”

3,031 Comments Post a Comment
  1. MASTER ROSHI
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    McCarthy
    TAA Saiss Castagne
    Salah Son Podence KDB*
    Wilson Maupay DCL

    a) KDB > Mane for -4
    b) play Taylor

    1. tarantino2005
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      if you think Mane will score then get him

  2. myteamissheeeeeeeet
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    Lads,

    Already did Mahrez to Son before the international break due to price changes.

    A) KDB to Sterling or Rashford for -4?

    B) Or I could keep and play some duck egg off my bench?

    1. MY DJ NAME IS PIMP CURRY
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Is the duck egg a guaranteed 2 pointer? I wouldn't be sure of Sterling or Rashford getting 6 points, and that's just your break even point

    2. Krafty Werks
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      I did the same and now took a hit for KDB > Sterling.

  3. Pickle juice
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    Which Kdb replacement :

    A. Foden
    B. Rashford
    C. Pulisic
    D. Grealish
    E. havertz

    1. Gudjohnsen
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      C

    2. tarantino2005
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      i went for Pulisic but Grealish is great long term option too

  4. MY DJ NAME IS PIMP CURRY
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    Bottom'd.

    A) Mane

    B) Sterling

    1. tarantino2005
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Mane

  5. Sepp Blattered
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    Would you change anything with this WC?

    Guaita - 4.0
    Robbo - Coady - Lampey - Dallas - Ayling
    Salah - Son - Rodriguez - Grealish - 4.4
    Kane - DCL - Maupay

    1. Boss Hogg
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Double Leeds defence? Maybe JWP?
      Maybe pulisic over Hamez?

    2. Arfaish
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Coady a strange pick, one of your 4.5m to 4m and then Coady to Semedo/Reguilion/Chilwell

  6. CelticBhoy1
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    First sub Keane or Taylor?

    1. MY DJ NAME IS PIMP CURRY
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      I'm starting Taylor FWIW

  7. Coys96
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    A) Sterling
    B) Pulisic

    1. Arfaish
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      If money is no issue then A, but B is the better value

  8. Niho992
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    Who's on pens in Villa, Trezeguet ?

    1. Boss Hogg
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Grealish?

    2. MY DJ NAME IS PIMP CURRY
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      One of Barkley, Grealish, or Watkins but no one really knows

    3. Shark Team
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Grealish probably

      1. Niho992
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 12 days ago

        he's not

    4. Krafty Werks
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Grealish will decide, if he's feeling confident he'll take.

  9. JakeTheRed
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    RMWCT:

    Martinez - (Steer)
    Robertson - Saiss - Dallas - (Mitchell) - (Dunne)
    Salah - Son - Rodriguez - Pulisic - Grealish
    Kane - Maupay - (Brewster)

    1. Old Bull
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      I’d be tempted to play Brewster

      1. JakeTheRed
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 12 days ago

        Over who?

  10. Boss Hogg
    • 11 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    Who’s on pens at palace?

    1. No Professionals
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Zaha

    2. Z
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Luka...McArthur is injuried so Luka is back in starting XI

  11. Shark Team
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    I want Kane DCL Antonio Maupay and Watkins in my team

  12. Pépé Pig
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    A) JRod & Robbo
    B) Grealish & Robbo
    C) Puli & Semedo

    1. Arfaish
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      A

    2. Nice to Finally Michu
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      tough one, might be C for me

  13. HD7
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    Chances of Mitchell starting?

    1. Gudjohnsen
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      I also want to know this

    2. Arfaish
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Likely

    3. Z
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Van Anholt is back

  14. Nice to Finally Michu
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    I must say, my team looks pretty damn weird at the moment...Reckon its good to go like this?

    McCarthy (Steer)
    Alexander-Arnold Dallas Robertson
    Rodriguez Trossard(VC) Pereira Sterling
    Calvert-Lewin Adams Werner(C)

    1st Sub: Bissouma
    2nd Sub: Walker-Peters
    3rd Sub: Ferguson

    Cheers!

    1. Zilla
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      g2g, not keen on Werner captain however.

      1. Nice to Finally Michu
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 12 days ago

        Cheers, I have faith in him this week though!

        1. Balls of Steel
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 12 days ago

          I also fancy a big differential captain pick on Werner this week!

  15. Reckoner
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    On a WC, currently:
    Martinez (Steer)
    Robbo - Chilwell - Justin (Mitchell, Dunne)
    KDB- Salah -Son - Soucek (Bissouma)
    Kane -DCL - Bamford

    would you do:

    A) KDB straight to Mane with exact money , or

    B) KDB and Soucek to Grealish and Rodriguez with 1.9m itb left

    Both tempting.... leaning towards B and improving defence with the money

    1. Nice to Finally Michu
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      B imo, i'd want a stronger 4th mid than Soucek

    2. Old Bull
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Definitely B

      1. Reckoner
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 12 days ago

        You're right, I'm definately on B. Thanks!

  16. FF Dirtbag
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    Doesnt sound like Mitchell will get anymore games, is there another 4mill to go for?

    1. Nice to Finally Michu
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Unfortunately not

  17. Gudjohnsen
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    Does Chilwell start tomorrow?

    1. Shark Team
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Which trio?
      A)Mane + Grealish + Watkins
      B)Sterling + Rodriguez + Watkins
      C)Rodriguez + Grealish + Kane

      Thanks!!!

      1. OptimusBlack
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 12 days ago

        C

    2. Shark Team
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Yes he starts and he returns! sorry for the response it wasn't for you...

  18. CelticBhoy1
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    Start Brewster or bench?

    1. Nice to Finally Michu
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      This is the most plum fixture he might have all season, start him

    2. HMC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      May not be your choice. Up to Wilder really

  19. arndff_
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    Would you WC this team?

    McCarthy
    TAA Justin Ayling
    Salah KdB* Son Podence
    Jimenez DCL Mitrovic

    Steer Bissouma Mitchell Taylor

    0FT, 2.5M ITB

    1. Nice to Finally Michu
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      No

    2. No Professionals
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      I’d never wildcard on a Friday night, ride this week out

      1. Africa United
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 12 days ago

        This

    3. Boberella
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      No way WC!
      KDB to anyone you like for a hit or just play Bissouma or Taylor

  20. TaiwanHC
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    Pick one. Try not to be biased. Please.

    Option 1. KDB to Salah
    Option 2. KDB to Son
    Option 3. Greenwood to Son
    Option 4. KDB and Greenwood to Salah and Son (-4)

    1. No Professionals
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      4

    2. arndff_
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      4.

      Those are long term moves and even if the hit doesnt pay off this gw (which I highly doubt), it'll pay off v soon for sure.

    3. Krafty Werks
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      4

    4. TeddiPonza
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      D

      1. Reckoner
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 12 days ago

        4

    5. Africa United
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      4

  21. Gudjohnsen
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    James or Chilwell on a FH?

    1. arndff_
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Chilwell

    2. Africa United
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Chil

  22. Zilla
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    KDB to Son worth -4?

    1. Nice to Finally Michu
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Yes

    2. arndff_
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Yes

    3. Africa United
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Yep

  23. No Professionals
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    Stuck on who to replace de bruyne with, like a lot on here.

    A) pulisic
    B) grealish
    C) fernandes

    Siding with grealish

    1. Nice to Finally Michu
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      I went for Trossard, i'd go for A of those

    2. arndff_
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      I did Bruno to Son early... big mistake. Had to waited till all the international games are over lol. Noob mistake.

      Would've made: KdB to Son now ffs.

      As of those, guess I'd pick a) or b).

    3. Africa United
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      C A B if money no issue
      But i personally would do B and bank the cash

  24. Z
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    HELP!

    Any info about Zaha? Will he play?

    1. Camzy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      He will play. But I wouldn't get him over Grealish.

      1. Z
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 12 days ago

        I dont belive in Grealish. I know it look insane, but so far i am good.

        Ty for answer

    2. arndff_
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Don't trust him despite the green run of fixtures.

      1. Z
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 12 days ago

        Me neither but i have that feeling....same i dont have about Grealish

    3. Africa United
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Only Zaha can tell before the match as he had a strain so it's 50/50 he may start and strain again or may play full 90 .. if you have him start him anyway .

  25. HMC
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    Think I know the answer but...

    Kane + Grealish or Sterling + Watkins?

    Also start Lamptey or Taylor along with Robbo+Saiss this week
    Cheers!

    1. tarantino2005
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      K+G

    2. Mackans
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Kane & Grealish, because of theirs incredible expected goal involvement despite not taking a penalty yet! And I would actually bench Saiss and play both Lamptey & Taylor

      1. HMC
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 12 days ago

        Cheers. Wolves still sound defensively. Kinda feel WBA will beat Burnley so not feeling Taylor this week.

    3. arndff_
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      KG

    4. Pariße
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      kane grealish

  26. Mackans
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    I just did a -8 (!) for the first time in my life.. man I will regret this.. Shaw, KDB & Adams ->Chilwell, Grealish & Kane

    1. No Professionals
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Isn’t chilwell a doubt

      1. Mackans
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 12 days ago

        I should say I brought in Chilwell just before the international break

    2. Z
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Amd Chilwell is not 100% rdy 🙁

      1. Mackans
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 12 days ago

        I should say I brought in Chilwell just before the international break

    3. Krafty Werks
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      I actually think it'll pay dividends sooner rather than later.

      1. Mackans
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 12 days ago

        Thanks man:)

    4. tarantino2005
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Dont be scraed of taking hit if you are confident hat players ou bring in will score. I took -8 and brought in Barnes DCL and Harrison 2-3 weeks ago. They got me 32 pts combined

    5. Africa United
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      Good moves why regret

  27. Garam MOSALAH
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    6.8m ITB will you go Mitro > Kane (c) for a -8 hit ?

    1. arndff_
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      No

  28. FirminoIsBetterThanYou
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    Thoughts on this WC draft:
    Martinez - Button
    Robbo - Semedo - Lamptey - Ayling - Mitchell
    Salah - Son - Mahrez - Grealish - Stephens
    Kane - DCL - Maupay

    1. arndff_
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      No JamRod on WC is interesting.

      1. FirminoIsBetterThanYou
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 12 days ago

        Just don't trust the Ev double up and just a personal choice but not sure JRod keeps this form up, I think he'll play great just not sure he'll contribute to as many goals.

  29. fkmzcgp
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    Should I pick..

    A) chilwell, Zaha, Grealish
    B) chilwell, Pulisic, Barkley
    C) KWP, Pulisic, Grealish

    1. Krafty Werks
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      C with Chilwell and Zaha slight doubts to start.

  30. Shark Team
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 12 days ago

    Which trio?
    A)Mane + Grealish + Watkins
    B)Sterling + Rodriguez + Watkins
    C)Rodriguez + Grealish + Kane

    Thanks!!!

    1. fkmzcgp
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 12 days ago

      C