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

    KDB > Salah, Foden > Barkley(would maybe go trossard but max 5.9) for free good moves? Own Sterling and Son aready

    1. Teriyaki 69
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      just the Kdb move if you can.

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

        not possible

    2. Teriyaki 69
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      just the Kdb move if you can.

    3. Totti
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      leave foden
      only KDB -> salah

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

        not possible

    4. DontPiqueTooSoon
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Barkley is a trap

    5. Tempestic
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I need the funds

  2. RAFA THE GAFFA
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Pulisic, Son or Salah for the armband here?

    McCarthy
    TAA, Justin, Saiss, Davies
    Pulisic, Salah, Rodríguez, Son
    DCL, Ings
    (Nyland, Mitchell, Bissouma, Davis)

    1. Make United Great Again
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Son

    2. ElliotJHP
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Son I reckon, very tight though

    3. Bobby_Baggio
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      son just

  3. Atimis
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    What are you doing about 4.0 def slot on WC ?

  4. Jacky boy
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Which one on WC?

    A) Werner + Reguilon
    B) Richarlison + Robertson

    *Own TAA, Pulisic and Hames
    Currently on A.

    1. Bobby_Baggio
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      A

  5. Bobby_Baggio
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Evening all - some help on which to go with please?

    McCarthy
    Davies - TAA - Justin
    KDB - Hamez - Salah - Podence
    Ings - Mitro - Jimenez

    (Martin) - Lewis - Johnson - Stephens

    A) KDB > Son
    B) KDB > Sterling
    C) KDB + Mitro > Sterling + DCL (-4)
    D) Davies + KDB > Saiss + Sterling (-4)
    D) Davies + KDB > Saiss + Son (-4)

    1. Jacky boy
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      A

      1. Bobby_Baggio
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Davies not starting worries me - got Lewis and Johnson as cover

    2. JIMMY764
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      A

      1. Bobby_Baggio
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Davies worries me - got Lewis and Johnson as backup when he doesn't play

  6. Orion
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    KDB out for Sterling for a -4 and C Sterling? Yes or no?

    1. Rash
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I'm avoiding man City for now

    2. Qaiss
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Man City couldn't beat us last time with KDB and Jesus so not sure it'll be like a knife through butter for them this time. Sterling is not the best captain at all.

  7. Make United Great Again
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Definitely keeping TAA.

    1. DontPiqueTooSoon
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 10 days ago

      This

    2. Bobby_Baggio
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      i am

    3. Atwood
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      On WC and can only afford Robertson.

      Even without clean sheets, look at those next two home games. They'll both be providing a lot for the front three. Crazy how so many are losing faith.

  8. Lord Flashheart
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    A guiata + konsa
    B martinez + PVA

    worried martinez is not super nailed after heaton is back

  9. Rash
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Best 4.5 defender?

    1. wulfranian
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Dallas or Ward for me.

  10. PocketZola
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    1. Masuaku
    2. Dallas

  11. Big Ronnie
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Who out for Kane?
    A) Werner
    B) Jimenez

  12. cnewman7
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Anyone taking a punt on Werner (c)?

    1. PocketZola
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Haha

    2. laGan1n1
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Kaiiiii (C)

  13. Gudjohnsen
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    For one gw:

    1. Foden, Mahrez
    2. Podence, Rashford

  14. Rinseboy
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Team look ok for this week?

    Martinez
    Semedo James Lamptey
    Salah Son (c) Barnes Grealish
    Brewster DCL Jimi
    Steer Saiss Mitchell KDB

    1. wulfranian
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      yes

  15. Garlana
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Kdb+foden to mcginn+Salah?

    No hit

  16. Hryszko
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Already taken a -4 to bring in Son, now with the KDB news.. do I take a -8 to swap him to sterling?

    Martinez (Steer)
    Trent - Saiss - Taylor (Lamptey & Dallas)
    Salah - Son - KDB - Podence
    Maupay - DCL - Jimmy

    1. manu4life99
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      No, strong bench so hold

  17. HMFC1874
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Watkins or Bamford

    1. JIMMY764
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Watkins

  18. SHOWSTOPPERRR
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Guys wc team

    Martinez 4.0
    Robbo saiss lampty dallas kwp
    Salah Mane son pulisic stephens
    Dcl maupay Wilson

    0.0itb..

    Any suggestions?

    1. SHOWSTOPPERRR
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Watkins in place of Wilson though..

  19. Heiro
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    A:Sterling
    B: Grealish
    C: Zaha

    1. Totti
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      A

    2. JIMMY764
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      A

    3. Gudjohnsen
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      A

  20. Totti
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    bottomed

    what do u think guys?

    A) werner -> kane for -4
    B) play werner

    1) play reece james
    2) play mitchel ( as reece might not start and to avoid a cameo with 1 pt )

  21. PocketZola
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Gtg? Wc

    Martinez
    Bellerin lamptey rob
    Salah son grealish pulisic jrod
    Kane dcl

    Subs, steer, Brewster, dallas, mitchell

    1. Totti
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      yes

  22. How I met your Mata
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Chilwell to start this gw?

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

      90% imo he will

  23. acesingh
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Still not convinced by Son. Mourinho attacker will be a troll for sure.

    Considering KDB to Mahrez... but without KDB is mahrez a good option?

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

      Son is up there with Mané and Salah. He's one of the best in the league.

  24. Indalo
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    I've already taken a -4 so would you guys advise a -8 to replace KDB or just ride it out and play Bissouma?

    Martinez
    Lamptey Saiss TAA
    Rodriguez Salah Son Bissouma
    DCL Jimenez Watkins

    Steer Mitchell KWP *KDB*

    1. acesingh
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      -8

  25. JIMMY764
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Pondering shipping Podence out for a hit?

    A) Pulisic
    B) Hamez
    C) Trossard
    D) Keep

    3.5ITB 0FT
    Martinez
    TAA Saiss Lamptey
    Salah Son Grealish Podence
    Ings Jimenez DCL
    (Steer Taylor KWP Biss)

    1. acesingh
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      D

    2. TheLord
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Same boat. Leaning towards A. Could be risky but I think the reward could be high

    3. wulfranian
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      d

  26. Wally711
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Play Brewster or Soucek?

    1. fkmzcgp
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Brewster

  27. fkmzcgp
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    A) Zaha and Chilwell
    B) Pulisic and KWP

  28. Lindelol
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Martinez, Steer
    Semedo Lamptey James* Mitchell Dunne
    Salah KDB* Mahrez Foden Burke
    Ings DCL Jimi

    1.2 itb and 1 FT
    1. KDB + James to Son + Trent for -4
    2. KDB to Son (without hit and hope either of Mitchel or James start)

  29. jimmyabs1987
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Captain Son or Kane?

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

      however you do it. it will be wrong. this is fpl.

    2. COLLIN QUANER
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I'm on Kane

  30. dshv
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Starting WC or keep kdb ??