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. 420king
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    RMWCT:

    Martinez (Forster)
    Robertson Chilwell Lamptey (Dallas Ferguson)
    Salah Son Rodriguez Zaha Grealish
    Kane DCL (Brewster)
    0.0 ITB

    Thinking about downgrading Robertson to upgrade Zaha to Pulisic and Ferguson to a starter. Thoughts?

    1. Stupendous
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Many are struggling with keeping Robbo and not affording Pulisic

      Zahas groin thrown a spanner in the works too.

      I just know selling Robbo is daaaaaaangerous.

      Toss a coin tbh

      1. 420king
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Yeah, specially for me since I missed some price rises on the likes of DCL and Rodriguez. Zaha looks like more of a long term pick with some decent matches on the horizon, but he's the only one I'm not sure of. Thanks.

    2. IN SANE IN DE BRUYNE
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Absolutely beautiful. But if with Brewster in the mix, it can mean benching headaches..

      1. 420king
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Thanks! I agree, but it could also be a positive thing during these covid times.

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

        I would just leave brewster as 1st bench permanently. Very resassuring that you have that solid backup, and if you never planned to start him you wouldn't feel as bad.

  2. Ibralicious
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Alright then, WC locked.

    Martinez - Forster
    Robbo - Castagne - Chilwell
    Salah (VC) - Son - J. Rod - Grealish
    Kane (C) - DCL - Maupay

    (Forster) - (Dallas - Mitchell - Bissouma)
    0.0 ITB

    Any final suggestions? Is the bench order gtg? Thanks all, and GL! 😀

    1. DK_13
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Mitchell to 3.9 maybe? I don't think he is playing long term. And this week you don't need him

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

        I was thinking the same but looking into it they seem to think pretty highly of him

      2. Ibralicious
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 9 days ago

        Hmm interesting, will think abt that. Cheers!

    2. Winners900
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Same team just Reguilon instead of Castagne. 3.9 for Mitchell and Stephens for Bissouma. Nice team

      1. Ibralicious
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 9 days ago

        Cheers, and likewise. Good luck!

  3. the dom 1
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Captain who?

    a. Salah
    b. Son
    c. Vardy

    Cheers all.

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

      Leaning B now, i asked something similar but its a tricky one. Just go with instinct

    2. Balls of Steel
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Son

  4. BNMC
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Butland joined Palace? Surely won’t dislodge Guaita?

    1. Holmes
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Nah, Guaita is too good to bench. I guess Hennessy's injury is serious, that's why.

    2. DK_13
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Butland is backup

  5. shiraz
      1 month, 10 days ago

      With kdb injured, i have decidedto do a wc. How is it?

      Ryan (McCarthy)
      Robbo, PVA, Saiss (Lamptey, Dunne)
      Salah, Son, JRod, Grealish ( Anguissa)
      DCL, Jim, Ings

      1. Stupendous
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Wouldn't want Jimi or Ings on WC right now.

        Kane or Aguero or Maupay or even Wilson for me atm on a WC with DCL

        1. shiraz
            1 month, 10 days ago

            I know what you mean, i am in a dilemma with ings and jim. I did not touch on my front 3, but have been thinking of getting maupay in

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

          I like the pva pick, its making me want to swap reguillon

      2. MaRooney 5
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Any worth a hit:

        McCarthy, Steer
        Aylin, Bellerin, Mitchell, TAA, Vinagre
        J Rod, KDB, Mahrez, Salah, Trossard
        Adams, Timo, Brewster?

        2.9m ITB

        Thanks in advance!

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

          Kdb out so maybe kdb->son

          1. MaRooney 5
            • 8 Years
            1 month, 10 days ago

            already did, for free.
            Any besides that?

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

              Probably Not for a hit but Adams needs to go and maybe tross to grealish next gw

      3. Ibralicious
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Is Dunne more nailed on than Mitchell atm?

        1. DK_13
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          None of the cheap ones are

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

          I went mitchell over dunne

      4. ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        RMT, what to do here?

        Already took a hit, should I take another to take out KDB for Sterling or just play Mitchell?

        McCarthy (Steer)
        TAA Saiss Justin (KWP)(Mitchell)
        Salah KDB Son(C) Rodriguez (Bissouma)
        Ings Maupay Wilson

      5. WorldCup82
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Current team:

        Ryan, Walton
        TAA, Doherty, Davies, Walker-Peters, Mitchell
        Sterling, Mahrez, Willian, Saint-Maximin, Bissouma
        Werner, Ings, Calvert-Lewin

        Looking to wildcard to this team:

        Ryan, Walton
        TAA, Saiss, Ayling, Ferguson, Mitchell
        Salah, Fernandes, Son, Foden, Podence
        Jimenez, Calvert-Lewin, McGoldrick

        Thoughts or suggestions??? Thanks!

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

        Captain:
        A) Salah
        B) Son
        C) Grealish

        Thanks

        1. Balls of Steel
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Salah

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

          Leaning Son at the moment

      7. Hul
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        WC team with 1.2 ITB.

        Any help much appreciated as feel it is not good enough. Cheers

        Ryan (Martinez)
        TAA Chilly Justin (Dallas, Saiss)
        Salah Son Grealish Podence (Bissouma)
        Kane DCL Bamford

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

        Sheffield United Fans, how likely is Brewster going to be a starter going forward?

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

        RMWCT:

        Ryan (Button)
        Semedo Chilwell Reguilon (Justin Mitchell)
        Salah Son Rodriguez Pulisic Grealish
        Kane DCL (Brewster)

        Still thinking about Grealish/Zaha and who to captain..

        1. Stupendous
          • 8 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          I'll raise you Robbo over Sem and Reg.

          I'd rather the nailed on Robbo and attacking potential he always brings.

          Definitely weighed up Sem and Reg though for now.

      10. Stupendous
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Ok ok ok!!! Done! Thoughts?

        Martinez
        Robbo Chilwell Mitchell
        Salah Son Rodriguez Grealish Pulisic
        Kane (c) DCL

        Martin Brewster KWP Douglas

        .1m itb and OF COURSE eye on Mitchell coming up

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

          We have a very similar mindset mate.

          Is Martinez in your opinion a much better option than Ryan?

          1. Stupendous
            • 8 Years
            1 month, 10 days ago

            Think he gets more save points and is a better keeper in a better team. Easy for me.

            1. Stupendous
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 10 days ago

              Better team who give up chances haha.

              I just think Martinez is my pick of those two.

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

                I am thinking about downgrading one of my defenders like Reguilon to get Martinez right away to not spend points on him after. I think Aurier is a punty pick that can return massivley. What do you think on that?

      11. Drogba Legend
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Not sure what to do anymore - RMWCT:

        Ryan
        Robbo - Chill - Saiss
        Salah - Son - Grealish - Pulisic
        Kane - DCL - Maupay

        Steer - Stephens - Dallas - Douglas*

        A) could do Saiss + Puli > Hamez + Semedo and upgrade Douglass > Mitchell
        B) thoughts?

        1. ZAWAd25
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Very nice team! I like the Pulisic pick, if it doesn’t work out easy switch to Hamez

          1. Drogba Legend
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 10 days ago

            Cheers

      12. slavkob
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Would you go:

        A) Ryan, Reguilon
        B) Martinez, Aurier

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

          C) Ryan, PVA

          1. Stupendous
            • 8 Years
            1 month, 10 days ago

            Ryan Pva

      13. WorldCup82
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        WORLDCUP82 Fantasy Football Scout Member8 Years5 mins ago
        Current team:

        Ryan, Walton
        TAA, Doherty, Davies, Walker-Peters, Mitchell
        Sterling, Mahrez, Willian, Saint-Maximin, Bissouma
        Werner, Ings, Calvert-Lewin

        Looking to wildcard to this team:

        Ryan, Walton
        TAA, Saiss, Ayling, Ferguson, Mitchell
        Salah, Fernandes, Son, Foden, Podence
        Jimenez, Calvert-Lewin, McGoldrick

        Thoughts or suggestions?? Thanks!

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

          Wouldnt want Bruno, Foden, Jiminez, McGoldrick, and Mitchell on my wildcard team.

          Players i would want are Kane, Chelsea Mid, Grealish, James R, Chilwell, Lamptey, Brewster

      14. ZAWAd25
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Play one:

        A) Justin
        B) Mitchell

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

          I went Mitchell, but I already am playing Castagne and didn't want to double up.

      15. zotter
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Rmwct

        McCarthy.
        Dallas. Lamptey. Chilwell. Trent
        Salah. Son. Havertz
        Brewster. Kane c. Dcl

        Forster. Rodriguez. Soucek. Kwp

        1. Stupendous
          • 8 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          You play Rodriguez over Brewster 100% imo

          Brewster is a luxury who happens to have a nice fixture off your bench.

          Rodriguez could haul, Brewster could get 1

          1. zotter
            • 11 Years
            1 month, 10 days ago

            Ok thanks. Apart from that all good?

            1. Stupendous
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 10 days ago

              Yea decent

              1. zotter
                • 11 Years
                1 month, 10 days ago

                Do you think having soucek / Brewster too weak?

                My thinking is usually you could play one but also have five viable defenders meaning could easily bench both?

      16. davies
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        A) Mahrez > Pulisic

        B) Mahrez / Jimmy > Son(c) / Watkins (-4)

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

          A

        2. Balls of Steel
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          A

      17. The Count of Monte Cristo
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Apologies - AWOL for 2 weeks and really not sure what to do. Is KDB + Bruno + Werner --> J.Rodriguez + Pulisic + Kane (-4) too much?

        McCarthy
        TAA -- Justin -- C.Taylor
        Salah -- KDB * -- B. Fernandes -- Soucek
        Werner -- Mitrovic -- C.Wilson

        4.0 -- B.Davies -- Bissouma -- Mitchell [2FT + 0.3m ITB]

      18. slavkob
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Who will score most points this gw and in general long term?

        A) Reguilon
        B) PVA
        C) Aurier

        1. The Count of Monte Cristo
          • 8 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          A imo

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

          Tossing up between a & b. PVA more nailed and those fixtures look good

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

          A or B. Add Chilwell to that group and it is very difficult to pick one for your wc team

      19. trafalgarlaw
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Play 1

        A. VVD
        B. Digne
        C. Ayling

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

          VVD

      20. slavkob
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Son or Kane for captain?

        Does WH play with deep defence? Does it bother Son? Kane always scores against West Ham and is on penalties. Leaning on Harry rn

        1. Balls of Steel
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Harry

      21. lankdog
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        RMWCT?

        Gone for a strong bench to counteract covid/schedule risk and a tactic of rotating Brewster with whoever is my 5th mid. Barkley works well for this on mid term fixtures but is AVL double up with Grealish too much?

        Ryan Steele
        TAA Chilwell Semedo KWP Ayling
        Salah Son Jrod Grealish Barkley
        Kane Maupay Brewster

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

          Nice, only player missing out is dcl

        2. Joggers Nipple
          • 11 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          3-5-2?
          Thats fine, bench isnt too strong
          Personally dont like Barkley

      22. Legohair
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Would you wc?

        McCarthy-Steer
        TAA-Justin-KWP-Mitchell-Saliba
        Salah-KDB-Son-Mahrez-Stephens
        Jimenez-DCL-Brewster

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

          No

        2. Joggers Nipple
          • 11 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          no

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

            Would you do - 8 then or just play KWP and leave KDB in the bench?

            1. Joggers Nipple
              • 11 Years
              1 month, 10 days ago

              KDB to Pulisic/ Grealish for me

      23. slavkob
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        A) Ryan, Reguilon, Mitchell
        B) Martinez, PVA/Aurier, Killman

        1. Joggers Nipple
          • 11 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          can you get 3.9 plus Regulion and Martinez?

      24. klopp4kop
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Will PODENCE start for wolves this week?

      25. Pukki Party
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Best option?

        A) Semedo
        B) James
        C) PVA

        1. Joggers Nipple
          • 11 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Saiss and save cash?
          If not then A

          1. Pukki Party
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 10 days ago

            Cheers

      26. Live Lad
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        GTG? Play Adams over Mitchell right?

        McCarthy
        Castagne, TAA, Saiss
        Grealish, Mahrez, Salah(vc), Son (c)
        Adams, Kane, DCL

        Subs: Steer, Mitchell, Bissouma, Ferguson

        Might do Mahrez to Pulisic next week. Or Hamez and Maupay will come in for Mahrez and Adams.