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.


Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles

Full-year memberships are now available for the price of £19.99. Monthly subscriptions also cost just £2.99.

Join now to get the following:

  • Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
  • Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
  • Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
  • Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
  • Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
  • Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
  • Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
  • View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
  • Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.

ALREADY A USER? CLICK HERE TO UPGRADE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT

NEW TO SCOUT? CLICK HERE TO START A MEMBERSHIP ACCOUNT

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

3,031 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Rohirrims
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Who to captain Sterling, Salah or Son?

    1. SalahFingers
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Leaning Son or Kane, but Sterling would be a great differential IMO

  2. Kakashi Of The Leaf
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Thoughts on Greenwood?

    1. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Guess hold but woudnt buy

  3. MFPL
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Hey all, I have 2 FT's with this team:

    Martinez
    Robertson James Saiss
    Salah KDB Son Foden
    Jimenez DCL Wood

    Button Lamptey Mitchell Anguissa

    I need to trade KDB and I think I might need to trade Foden. Currently thinking:

    KDB, Foden & Wood > Mane, Grealish & Brewster (will be on field) (-4)

    Thoughts? Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      KDB and Foden to Pulisic and Grealsih?
      Bench Wood and sell later?

    2. Rohirrims
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      I think they are fantastic moves.

  4. Joggers Nipple
    • 11 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Morning. Only one real spot I cant fix on WC- Ings

    Martinez
    Saiss TAA Chilwell
    Salah James Pulisic Grealish Son
    DCL Ings*
    Forster *Brewster Dallas Braithwaite(no money) 0.0 ITB

    A. Stick. Later Ings to Antonio
    B Ings and Brewster to Maupay and Antonio/Watkins. Then Antonio/ Watkins benched?
    C Ings to Maupay. 1.9 ITB, can see a real use for it?
    D. Something else?

    Any input on this or general thoughts welcome

    1. SalahFingers
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      I mean - you could always go Bamford, Wilson or Mitrovic and upgrade elsewhere.

      1. SalahFingers
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        or squeeze 0.1 somewhere and get Jimenez

      2. Joggers Nipple
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Cheers, just cant see massive upgrades anywhere?

        1. SalahFingers
          • 2 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          No, your team is good for the most part. I like it

          1. Joggers Nipple
            • 11 Years
            1 month, 15 days ago

            ta

    2. Bank$y
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Keep Ings.

      1. Joggers Nipple
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Think i will unless I get really inspired

  5. SalahFingers
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    G2G?

    Martinez (Ryan)
    Chilwell Castagne Mitchell (Justin Saiss)
    Salah Son Rodriguez Mahrez (Podence)
    Kane DCL Bamford

    1. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Nice

  6. davies
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Son worth a hit this week?

    Would be captaining him...

    1. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      yes

    2. SalahFingers
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      I think so.

  7. bigdip
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Any hits worth taking?

    McCarthy
    TAA - Doherty - Coady
    Sterling- Salah - ASM- Barnes
    Kane (c) - Mitrovic
    (Steer- Bissouma - Adams - KWP)

    1.2 ITB, 0 FT

    1. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Mitro to someone is tempting but prob not a -4

  8. ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    A) KDB to Sterling for -4
    B) Play 1 of Mitchell/Bissouma/KWP

    1. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      a

  9. Legohair
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    KDB to Pulisic(or other) worth -8?
    Otherwise i just have to play KWP...

    1. SalahFingers
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Not worth -8 IMO

    2. Bank$y
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      If you already made a move for -4 then yes sell KDB too.

  10. jimmy9
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Which of these would be your priority in right now?
    1. Grealish.
    2. Pulisic.

    1. nibby
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Grealish is a safer pick to me. The problem i have with Chelsea attack is that they have so many attacking players that you dont know who is gonna score. Also with champions league they will get reduced minutes i think.

  11. slavkob
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Zaha or Grealish and why?

    1. SalahFingers
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Doesn't Zaha has a hammy risk right now?

      1. slavkob
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Yup, groin

    2. nibby
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      GREALISH

  12. bigdip
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    yeah I'll hold and take Mitro out next GW. Who should I bring him in for him? (7.1 cash)
    A) Wilson
    B) Maupay
    C) Bamford
    D) Watkins

  13. slavkob
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Why is Reguilon a better pick than Aurier?

    1. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Aurier and Doherty same spot?

      1. slavkob
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Bavies and Segio too

        1. Joggers Nipple
          • 11 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Bavis wont play much at all imo

    2. nibby
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      i am going with aurier

      1. slavkob
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Me too, I like it a bit punty

  14. Jafooli
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    KdB > Son (c) for a hit?

    1. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      oh yes

    2. ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Yes I think

    3. SalahFingers
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      yes

    4. nibby
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      yes

    5. Jafooli
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Cheers all...

  15. ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Would you guys still be selling KDB if you knew that he's going to miss just 1 game and be back for the next league game?

    1. Bank$y
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Points win prizes. Injured players don't get you anything.

      1. Pukki Party
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Son says hi

    2. nibby
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      yes

    3. Phlajo
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 15 days ago

      No

  16. Super Jack Grealish
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    A) Chilwell, Saiss, Lamptey, Stephens, Maupay.
    B) Coady, Lamptey, Dallas, Hamez, Brewster
    C) Chilwell, Semedo, Dallas, Stephens, Maupay

    Martinez, Forster
    Robbo, Chilwell, Saiss, Lamptey, Ferguson
    Salah, Son, Pulisic, Grealish, Stephens
    Kane, DCL, Maupay

    1. Bank$y
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      B

    2. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      A, nice team
      C is close

  17. gellinmagellan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    McCarthy
    Robertson James Justin Saiss
    Salah Son KDB
    Adams Kane DCL

    4.0 Soucek Mitchell Anguissa

    KDB > Sterling for -4?

    1. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      KDB to Pulisic?
      Enough cash for Aunguissa to Grealish next week?

      1. gellinmagellan
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Good thinking, team structure might falter but I guess having a WC is helpful for that

    2. NZREDS
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Tempted to do this myself

  18. nibby
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Is Chillwell a safe pick?

    1. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      I think so

      1. nibby
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        thanks

  19. nibby
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Thinking about going with this defense on WC

    Robbo Chilwell Regulion Cahill 4m

    Is that too much money in def?

    1. AK_FC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      For me yes

  20. Pukki Party
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Is Watkins the best Villa option atm?

    1. Super Jack Grealish
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Grealish

      1. Pukki Party
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Not biased with that grav?

  21. j1ves
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    James & Saiss

    Or

    Chilwell & Dallas

    1. Super Jack Grealish
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Chill and dallas

    2. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      1st one if you have a good sub to cover the James non starts

    3. nibby
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      james isn't safe option

    4. NZREDS
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      A more likely to see returns imo

      1. NZREDS
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        If James starts that is..

  22. Stand By Mee
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Podence to Pulisic worth a hit?

    I have 5.2 itb and I am on -4

    1. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      I would say yes, good long term

    2. Francescoli
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      No way. Wait to see Puli back and playing.

  23. Roy Rovers
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Before it goes crazy on here how is this WC?

    Martinez
    Robbo Zouma KWP Lamptey Kilman
    Salah Sterling Son Barkley Bissouma
    DCL Kane Brewster

    1. Roy Rovers
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Forster 2nd GW.

    2. nibby
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Barkley to Trossard maybe? Dont like Zouma. Can you get Chilwell?

    3. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Its fine
      I would prefer Kane to a cheapie and pump up Barkley, Zouma to Chiwell, get Wolv def but if you happy all good

      1. Roy Rovers
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Was leaving Kane in as place holder for Aguero....I don’t get the Chilwell love!!

    4. Rondon9
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Too many big hitters, unbalanced

    5. AK_FC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Downgrade either Kane or Sterling

      1. Roy Rovers
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Not Sterling need City....Kant to who...?

        1. Roy Rovers
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          *Kane

  24. Francescoli
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    With Cavani and Martial our, in considering bringing in Greenwood for Podence on a free transfer. Worth the shot or two short sighted?

    1. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Need to see a big improvement from MANU before going them. Wait and see seems right

    2. Kakashi Of The Leaf
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Potentially could play as a ST.
      Chelsea and Arsenal next . Not the worst fixtures

  25. AK_FC
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Final WC team decisions:

    1) Drop one of Pulisic, Rodriguez, Grealish
    2) Best option from: Maupay, Antonio, or Wilson
    3) Best 4.1/4.0 defender?

    1. Kakashi Of The Leaf
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      2 Watkins/Mitrovic?

      1. AK_FC
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        I like Watkins, but am definitely choosing one of Maupay, Wilson or Antonio.

    2. Scotty84
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 15 days ago

      1)keep but if had to drop go pulisic as other 2 already performing well
      2)considering same myself
      3)ferguson

  26. Kakashi Of The Leaf
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Robbo Lamptey Dallas KWP Ferguson

    Is this defence good enough to play 3 at the back every week? They are all attacking wingbacks so went for them.

  27. Scotty84
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Morning all and current team is,
    Ryan (Button)
    TAA Justin Saiss (Ferguson Mitchell)
    Salah Son Rodriguez Klich (Bissouma)
    Kane DCL Jiminez
    1.3 ITB

    Would like to upgrade Klich next gw so is it worth downgrading jiminez for a -4 this week to either Maupay or Wilson, currently thinking Wilson may continue his form against Man Utd

    1. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Save, Jimenez next week if you must, Klitch up later and make 4.0 def a 4.5

    2. Scotty84
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Thx joggers, guaranteed I take out jiminez and he gets a brace

  28. Reyson
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Martinez
    Lamptey dallas chilwell
    Salah son pulisic asm grealish
    Dcl kane(C)

    Subs: steer maupay saiss kwp

    Should i start maupay or grealish?

  29. Pukki Party
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    This WC gtg?

    Martinez
    TAA Robbo Ayling
    Salah Son Pulisic Trossard
    Jimenez DCL Watkins

    Button Soucek Justin Taylor

    1. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Yes! Damn that makes the LIV def double up look good

      1. Pukki Party
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Cheers

    2. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Guess look at
      Maupay and Grealish/ James
      over Jimiez and Trossard?

    3. nibby
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Double pull defense is a bit too much with adrian in goal

      1. Pukki Party
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Klopp had positive news on Alisson so keeping

  30. slavkob
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Final WC team

    Ryan (Button)
    Chilwell, Semedo, Aurier (Justin, 3.9)
    Salah, Son, Pulisic, James, Grealish
    Kane(c), DCL (Brewster)

    0.5 itb to upgrade Ryan to Mendy for GW7 onwards. Thoughts?

    1. Joggers Nipple
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Villa keeper if on WC?