Fantasy Premier League managers are having to re-evaluate everything they know about Liverpool assets heading into Gameweek 9.
Their start to the season has been plagued by a series of injury problems including the loss of a fit-again Alisson (5.9m), then long-term knee injuries to Virgil Van Dijk (6.3m), Joe Gomez (5.4m) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (6.3m).
Trent Alexander-Arnold (7.3m) now has a calf problem, there have been muscle issues for both Fabinho (5.4m) and Jordan Henderson (5.4m) as well as a knock for Thiago Alcantara (£5.9m), and Andrew Robertson missed out on Scotland’s game over the weekend thanks to his hamstring.
Couple all of this with Mohamed Salah (12.3m) returning a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test on international duty and Liverpool are stricken right across the board.
The most frustrating factor in all of this is the uncertainty. It is entirely possible that some of the Reds’ flagged assets could feature in Gameweek 9, we just don’t know which ones yet.
So what should Fantasy managers do about the problem? Do we sell our Liverpool assets and wait for the injury storm to pass? Or should we hold on and bench them for the time-being?
We asked members of the Scout Network, to see what they had to say on the subject.
Graph from El Statto to show Liverpool’s top 10 most-owned players and their points returns so far this season
I think the easy plan, that many have already set in motion, was to avoid Liverpool’s defence for now. Clean sheets weren’t a regular occurrence anyway and Robertson is the only one providing much in the way of attacking returns. I would move the money into midfield and attack for now. It’ll be interesting to see how Liverpool line up over the next few months with the shortage of centre backs. Will Robertson continue to push forward in attack or will he take a more conservative approach to protect the defence? Will a £4.0m defender for the champions become a viable option?El Statto
For Gameweek 8, I had Salah, Sadio Mané (£12.0m) and Robertson. When Alexander-Arnold was taken off with an injury, I sold Robertson and Rhian Brewster (£4.5m) in order to get Ollie Watkins (£6.1m) and Ezri Konsa (£4.7m) with four-point hit. Now we know Salah has tested positive for COVID-19 and, since I do not have Bruno Fernandes (£10.6m) or a Manchester City attacker for their promising run of fixtures, I feel tempted to sell the Liverpool ace. Then again, the Reds are to play Brighton and Fulham in Gameweeks 10 and 12 respectively, in between a home clash with Wolves, so Salah may punish his sellers. For the time-being, I am sticking with him, playing someone from the bench and hoping that he fetches me a haul when he returns for the Brighton game. However, if someone has not made a transfer already (unlike me), they could get Fernandes for Gameweek 9 for the West Bromwich Albion match and bring Salah back in Gameweek 10 or 11.FPL Poet
With limited exposure to Liverpool’s woes in just owning Salah, I’m going to hold him and hope he is capable of a fairly quick recovery. Once again, we are reminded of the importance of a strong bench this season! Jarrod Bowen (£6.3m) will take Salah’s slot and I quite fancy his chances against a struggling Sheffield United. It is, however, a few days before the deadline and, if I know myself, then temptation to hop onto someone else may prove too strong.Mini League Mate – Logan
I’ve not had more than one Liverpool player in my team at any stage this season. Admittedly, my decision to start the season without Salah backfired big style when he was gifted two penalties in Gameweek 1. The only Liverpool defender I. have owned van Dijk for the first four Gameweeks and, in a rare instance of good timing, he was a makeweight for my Salah transfer in Gameweek 5 just before Jordan Pickford (£4.9m) injured the centre-back. Fortunately for me, I have not been punished for staying away from Liverpool’s defence since then. Looking ahead, I see no reason to be invested in their backline, given that my spreadsheets predict they only have strong prospects of a clean sheet in one of the next six Gameweeks. Offensively though, Liverpool are predicted to score at least two goals in each of their next six Premier League matches, and a case could have been made for a Salah and Mané double0up prior to the Egyptian’s positive COVID-19 test. I am of the opinion that now would not be the time to be planning on going without Salah for the medium/long-term. Therefore, I would be recommending Wildcarders have a plan for how they will integrate Salah back into their teams once he is available for selection again. Diogo Jota (£6.5m) looks an enticing proposition now, of course, especially if managers are in the luxurious position of being able to hop off Salah in the short-term.FPL Poker Player
Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk
Looking at Liverpool’s upcoming fixtures (Brighton, Wolves and Fulham) I do feel that, despite the injuries, they are likely to pick up one or two clean sheets. I also wonder how the injuries will impact Robertson (if fit). Will he be on more set pieces? Will he have to take on more of the attacking responsibility? There’s a lot of uncertainty but I also think there’s a lot of potential upside for Robertson owners. I certainly won’t be selling for a hit. I could be tempted to sell for a free transfer but is Robertson my biggest issue right now? Probably not.FPL Partridge
Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson
This international break has proved to be a tough time to own Liverpool players. With Gomez picking up a knee injury in training with England, potential injuries to Robertson and Henderson while away with Scotland and England respectively as well as a positive test from Salah whilst on duty with Egypt, on top of a series of other injury concerns we as FPL Managers are now left with key decisions to make.
The injury to Alexander-Arnold in Gameweek 8 made the decision to sell him easier and right now not owning a Liverpool defender feels like a good idea especially as there are so many injuries to key Liverpool defenders as well as a lack of clean sheets. Even if Robertson recovers from his hamstring injury ahead of the Gameweek 9 deadline I’m not sure he is worth the money you need to invest in him when he is playing in a makeshift defensive unit.
Salah is a more complicated issue. His positive test leaves him isolating in Egypt until he returns a negative test – hopefully this will mean only missing one Gameweek. Having owned Salah since pre-season I would stand to lose 0.2m in him by selling now and, therefore, for me, I will be holding him as I will want him back as soon as he is allowed to play again – especially right now when attack is Liverpool’s best form of defence.FPL Family Sam
What’s going on in the Scout Network?
El Statto used the first week of the international break to take a break from writing articles and turned his attention to his much anticipated video content. This week he produced a short video instead summarising Chilwell on the back of last weeks Scout Network question on Chilwell and Chelsea after last weeks question from Scout
This week FPL Poker Player published a blog reporting the key trends this season so far as identified by a review of my spreadsheet’s rolling data which contained good news for managers transferring in assets from Aston Villa and West Ham, and some mixed news for those bringing in Bruno Fernandes. I
Poker Player has also prepared a first draft of his weekly poker tables blog, which is due out next week. His latest 6 gameweek spreadsheet was emailed to customers around the world, if you would like to receive it don’t forget to sign up.
Lee and Sam had a busy week last week last week recording a Scout Question and Answer session as well as Sam appearing on last weeks FPLShow alongside Duncan Alexander. This week Sam will be on the Official FPLPodcast and Lee and Sam will be back streaming as usual on their YouTube channel at 20:30 GMT on Sunday night. The FPLFamily are also fast approaching 15k subs on YouTube – if you haven’t already hit that subscribe button!
We were thrilled to expand both our FFS International and Scout Academy communities this week with a variety of Content Creators from across the world:
- FF Titan – Sinapore – FFS International
- Block 5 – Kuwait – FFS International
- Ahmed Al Kayal, Fantasy Talks Show – Egypt – FFS International
- FPL Crypto – Canada – FFS International
- Bendito Fantasy – Mexico – FFS International
- FPL Shake ‘n’ Bake – UK – Scout Academy
- FPL Side Net – Australia – Scout Academy
You’ll be able to hear more from these additions to our network over the rest of the 2020/21 season and beyond! If you want to be part of our community be it – Scout Network, Scout Academy, FFS International or Community Trials then please get in touch!
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