There has been quite a buzz among Fantasy Premier League managers about Liverpool players this week following the Reds’ weekend demolition of Manchester City.
Liverpool had a great game against the Citizens. They notched four times and registered 12 shots on target, including 10 inside the box. The game has placed Liverpool’s attacking players firmly on the radar. Furthermore, the team line-up has looked fairly stable since Jürgen Klopp took over from Brendan Rodgers after Gameweek 9.
However, it is easy to look at players getting regular game time and forget that potential challengers to their spot could be missing with injury. Therefore, I decided to review the Liverpool midfield and forward line-up so far this season to remind myself of the state of play.
The chart shows the:
- opposition Liverpool faced each week (Opp);
- formation Liverpool played (Frmtn)*;
- total minutes played by each player;
- managerial era – Rodgers in grey and Klopp in white;
- position of each player in each match** (dark blue for forward, blue for midfield, purple for defence and light blue if they came on as a substitute) or their status (red for injured, yellow for suspended). Players with a white or grey box beneath their name did not play that week.
I have only included players who have clocked up at least 100 minutes on the pitch. They are, from left to right: James Milner (Mil), Philippe Coutinho (Cou), Emre Can (Can), Leiva Lucas (Luc), Adam Lallana (Lal), Roberto Firmino (Fir), Jordon Ibe (Ibe), Jordan Henderson (Hen), Christian Benteke (Ben), Danny Ings (Ing), Daniel Sturridge (Stu) and Divock Origi (Ori).
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There are a few things I noted from the chart. Firstly, the five midfielders with most game time this season have looked very stable in the Klopp era, with the only change being Ibe (4.6m) coming in for Milner (6.6m) when he was briefly injured. With Henderson (6.6m) nearing a return from injury, it will be interesting to see if the club captain can get back into the team and, if so, who he displaces.
Sturridge (10.1m) is another major player for the Reds who is on the comeback trail from injury. Against Manchester City he was an unused substitute, but how long will Liverpool keep on the bench a player who over the last two seasons has scored 26 Premier League goals in 3,021 minutes? If he returns to the starting eleven that might also have a knock on effect on those midfield options.
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Finally, in his first four games, Klopp has started with an attacking midfielder (Firmino, 8.0m) upfront in away games against Chelsea and Manchester City, but a recognized striker in home games – Origi (5.6m) against Southampton and Benteke (8.3m) against Crystal Palace. Klopp might decide to stick with last week’s winning formula, or he might continue to rotate. If he does the latter, it could make things awkward for the more than 23,000 FPL managers who have bought Firmino this week.
*based on my interpretation of FourFourTwo Stat Zone‘s line-up guide – feel free to leave alternative suggestions in the comments
**also based my interpretation of FourFourTwo Stat Zone’s line-up guide.