Liverpool are having one of their worst-ever seasons in the Premier League. It is certainly their worst under Jurgen Klopp.
After 20 games, they sit 10th in the league — having lost seven games. They will do well to finish in the top six.
As a result, players such as Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.3m), Andrew Robertson (£6.8m) and Mohamed Salah (£12.7m), who were among the best options for the past four to five seasons, have offered awful value for FPL managers.
But do Liverpool still have helpful PL picks, or should we be moving on?
A look at the team’s stats…
Liverpool’s obvious problem has been their defence. They have conceded 28 goals with an expected goals conceded (xGC) of 29.2. After the same number of games last season, they had conceded 18 goals, with an xGC of 19.72.
Yet Alexander-Arnold, Robertson and Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m) remain the three most expensive defenders in the game. And with Van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate (£4.8m) out injured, there is little confidence that Liverpool’s defence will improve soon.
In attack, last season Liverpool had already scored 52 goals by this point, with an xG of 50.38. This campaign they have scored 34 goals with an xG of 35.94 — the third highest in the division behind Manchester City and Arsenal.
So although there is a big drop-off in goals compared to last season, they are still creating chances (even if they are not scoring them). Things are likely to improve in this regard with the return of injured players such as Luis Diaz (£7.8m), Diogo Jota (£8.8m) and Roberto Firmino (£8.0m).
Jota is now back in training, so he could be an option by Gameweek 25. For the time being though, Salah and Darwin Nunez (£8.7m) will be the best picks over the medium term.
Fixtures could be key
Gameweek 25 will be a double for Liverpool when they face Crystal Palace (A) and Wolves (H).
Looking at their games from now until Gameweek 28, they have some plum matches (seen below), with Newcastle United and Manchester United the toughest fixtures in that period. Their attack should have a reasonable chance of scoring some of these games.
Their players to invest in (or keep hold of)
Mohamed Salah has been nowhere near his best this season, but he’s still his side’s biggest attacking threat. He has seven goals and five assists this season, with the highest xG (9.17) among midfielders (which is what FPL classes him as). He has also created 38 chances with an xA (expected assists) of 3.1. Plus, Liverpool haven’t had any penalties awarded to them this season so far.
Considering his output and stats over the last five seasons, Salah is likely to improve on his return ratio. He will be worth buying again — at the right time.
The same goes for Salah’s team-mate Nunez. He has five goals and three assists in only 11 starts but has racked up an xG of 8.07, which puts him seventh overall for that metric despite playing fewer minutes than his counterparts. Despite this, he has missed 16 of his 20 big chances this season.
Although this may lead us to believe that Nunez is a bad finisher, his career stats tell us differently. He scored 26 league goals in 28 games for Benfica last season and has netted 78 goals in 165 career club appearances.
The Uruguayan may not be the most clinical, but he is a player who arrives in great goal-scoring positions, reflected in his high xG. Although he may be a frustrating asset to own due to the chances he misses, he will eventually start scoring at a more constant rate.
Aside from Liverpool’s two fixtures in Gameweek 25, another reason to go for Salah and Nunez is that they are both owned by relatively few FPL managers, so it’s a good time to get ahead of the curve. At the time of writing, Salah only features in 22.9 per cent of teams and Darwin only 7.7 per cent — though their selection will likely rise by Gameweek 25.
You might be put off by Liverpool’s form this season, but you should remember that FPL is all about investing in individual players rather than the team. If Liverpool start to score goals more freely again, it’ll likely be Salah or Nunez involved.
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All stats from OPTA and Transfermarkt.
(Top photo: Jurgen Klopp; by Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)