With the first double gameweek of the FPL season upon us, we analyse the Liverpool assets to help you pick your Liverpudlian weapons of choice along with a word on the Triple Captain chip
As we are all aware, Liverpool have a DGW (double game week) in GW24. In this DGW, they will be playing Wolves (A) and then West Ham (A).
Firstly I will look at why having three Liverpool players is a great idea and why you should be considering it and then why it might be a really bad idea to pool (see what I did there) all your resources into a fixture heavy schedule for Liverpool.
Finally, I will have a brief note on the Triple Captain chip and whether this DGW is a good time to use it or whether you should save it for the later DGWs.
Pick three, any three!
As it stands, 33% of the top 9 players owned are from Liverpool alone. This includes Mané (40.0% TSB), Alexander-Arnold (38.8% TSB) and Salah (25.4% TSB).
In 15th place is Robertson (19.6% TSB, in 19th place is Firmino (9.6% TSB) and just missing out on top 20 in 21st place is Van Dijk (40.1% TSB). Collectively they have amassed 689 points!
Essentially these are the six most owned Liverpool players and you can expect to find at least one if not two in most teams right now.
Why would you want three Liverpool players?
Liverpool haven’t lost a single game all season and have the second-best goals for/away ratio in the Premier league (only second to Man City by 1 goal) and they have let in the least amount of goals (14 goals in 21 games).
Either you want to go with two attackers and one defender or one attacker and two defenders. This, of course, depends on a number of factors such as your budget, who is already in your team and most importantly whether you think they will keep clean sheets or not.
Mané (£12.4m) has scored 7 goals at home this season and 4 away with a joint 3 assists in either venture. In previous games against Wolves/West Ham away in 2017 and 2018 seasons, he has produced 0 goals against Wolves and 2 goals against West Ham. Earlier in the season Mané scored the only goal in a Home win for Liverpool in December against Wolves.
Salah (£12.3m) has scored 9 goals at home this season with 1 assist and just 1 goal away but 4 assists. In previous games against Wolves/West Ham away in 2017 and 2018 seasons, he has produced 1 goal against Wolves and 2 goals against West Ham.
Firmino (£9.3m) has no goals at home this season but has 3 assists. Away form is much more interesting. He has 7 goals away and assisted 1. That goal tally is more than Mane and Salah combined! Interestingly his passing accuracy is also much more consistently higher away from home.
So to break this down for you, here is a chart for quick reference.
As you can see from this chart, Mané is top of the charts but Firmino is the clear choice for away games for goals scored.
If you are to pick one of the regulars, you have a choice between TAA, VVD, Robertson and Gomez.
Let’s begin with Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m):
Owned by 38.8% of teams, he has proven to be a big hit with the full back providing goals (2) and assists (10). Both goals came from away games and 50% of his assists are done away from Anfield. He is a very dangerous player and should honestly be your first pick if you want to have a defender.
Virgil Van-Dijk (£6.4m):
VVD is currently selected by 40.1% of managers, the highest ownership among Liverpool’s elite this season. Virgil is a big centre back in both ways of the word. He is a staple in Liverpool’s title challenge and has collected 3 goals this season at Anfield. A solid pick who’s more nailed on than the full backs.
Andrew Robertson (£7.0m):
The Scotsman is in just 19.6% of teams right now. This stat should honestly be higher because alongside TAA he is just so dangerous to underestimate. He has scored just once away from home and of his six assists, half have been away so it’s evenly distributed. If you have the money for Robertson and want to get the edge with a second attacking defender whilst potentially picking up those clean sheets, then Robbo is your man.
Joe Gomez (£5.2m):
Gomez is my latest transferee and for good reason. He is only owned by 3.1% of teams, but is the least nailed on option, especially when Matip is back available and offers very little attacking threat. However, in his last 6 games, where he has really started every game for Liverpool, he has picked up 38 points. That’s 6.3ppg. When you reconsider his price of just over five million, he is clearly the best value option.
So… you’ve seen the brief about the 7 players everyone is talking about. Generally, the consensus among FPL managers seems to be to bring in either Mane, Salah + TAA or to bring in either Mane or Salah with TAA and VVD/Robertson backing them up.
Right! Time to now look at why bringing in three Liverpool players could potentially be a bad idea! That’s right. I’ve said it. No, I won’t take it back!
What even is this DGW?
The first thing that springs to mind when people say DGW is don’t goats whine – just me then?
Well Double Game Week doesn’t exactly mean what it says either. This bit of misleading information suggests that Liverpool are playing two games across a week. Now, correct me if I’m wrong but a week is seven days and if we actually look at the fixtures you will see that it’s actually a much different affair. Firstly they play two games in 6 days… Now take your eyes to my chart below to see what I’m talking about:
|Liverpool DGW||Date playing||Distance from Anfield (driving in coach)|
|Manchester United||19th January||Home game|
|Wolves||23rd January||86 miles 1hr 45|
|Bristol City/Shrewsbury||26th January||184 miles 3hr 17 // 73.2 miles 1hr 26|
|West Ham||29th January||227.6 miles 4hr 7|
|Southampton||1st February||Home game|
So within 2 weeks, Klopp has to field a team for five games, four of which are the Premier League which Liverpool are currently favourites to win. I for one cannot see Klopp wanting to let the title out of his grasp and this set of fixtures may be his most toughest challenge this season.
- Manchester United are dangerous and in the last five games at Anfield, Liverpool have only won twice, drawing twice and losing once.
- Wolves are going to be at home with Nuno chasing European football with a dangerous team who have the 7th highest goal difference and the joint second lowest amount of losses joint with Manchester City and Leicester City.
- Then you have an FA Cup match which Liverpool would look to win for an eighth time and the first time in 14 years.
- Next they face a tricky West Ham who have a four day rest period and the advantage of a home crowd under new management.
- Finally, they can stay in Liverpool to take on a dangerous Southampton with Danny Ings looking to extend his goal scoring record, although it is important to note that Liverpool have won the last five matches against Southampton with Liverpool not losing to Southampton in the Premier League since March 2016, almost four years ago.
The issue is this: Who is he going to rest and which games will they miss?
If you were just betting on Liverpool winning or losing it wouldn’t matter so much, but when you go into the specifics of who is going to be playing where and when, what role they will fill and who may get injured in this energetic schedule, you really have to get lucky to get it nailed on.
You would argue that over this tough schedule, both TAA and Robertson are high risk of a rest, then followed by the attackers however, during the hectic Christmas period, Klopp didn’t rest Robbo, TAA, Mané, Salah or Firmino.
Having said that, Liverpool are 14pts clear at the top now, where the gap was smaller over the Christmas break, so perhaps Klopp may feel that he can rest some players now, given that gap.
It’s all a guessing game at the end of the day, but it is conceivable that some options may see a rest somewhere during this period
A good time for the Triple Captain Chip?
So what about using this chip?
As we know, Liverpool are quite clearly the best team in the league and both Mané and Salah are at the top end of the FPL points charts, so why not just use it now?
“With great opportunity, comes great chance of blanks.” (- Uncle Ben, 1992)
Of course we all know and have experienced the great pain of wasting this chip and it’s not fun. In fact, there hasn’t been too many huge scores since it’s inception where everyone has benefited.
It really isn’t an easy decision and chip to use, as we’re always attracted to double gameweeks as automatically we think, “twice the opportunity multiplied by 3” which on paper, is so tantalising!
But the truth is, it all depends on context. Who needs a rest, who’s gonna be in good form at the time, what the schedule for double gameweeks is like, Will there be a better chance than the current Liverpool one we have right now?
The answer is, we don’t know the answer to any of this. You’ve just got to do it when it feels right. If you look at these fixtures and think Liverpool have goals in them for both and that Salah/Mané will play both, then why not go for it?
If you think the games look tough and you’re anticipating some rest for whoever you might decide to triple captain, then just wait. If you simply aren’t sure at all, then definitely just wait for a better opportunity.
This was written by our new writer @fplpolar – you can follow him on Twitter by hitting the link if you want to discuss this article or anything FPL related with him.