What should we do with Trent Alexander-Arnold for FPL Gameweek 8? With Jürgen Klopp confirming the fullback’s return in Gameweek 8 against Watford, 78% of managers are pondering whether we should get him back into our FPL teams.
Jian Batra provides an outlook into both sides of the argument.
Don’t forget to check out our Ultimate FPL Gameweek 8 Guide which has everything you need to help you make the best decisions ahead of the deadline.
How Many Premium Defenders?
This section will be based on the assumption you want Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m). I will construct the optimal defence, at least on paper, to surround the Liverpool fullback.
It’s very dependant on how strong your belief is when it comes to the “big at the back” philosophy.
However, I’d recommend keeping Tino Livramento (£4.2m). Given his price, potentially playing out of position as a winger, and Southampton’s fantastic fixture run, he’s a brilliant facilitator.
From there I’d go for three or four premiums.
With the three premium strategy, I’d go with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joao Cancelo (£6.2m) and Antonio Rudiger (£5.7m).
The final defender would be either Ben White (£4.4m) or Pontus Jansonn (£4.6m).
On the other hand, with the four premium strategy I’d go for Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joao Cancelo, Antonio Rudiger, and Cesar Azpilicueta (£6.0m).
The reason I’ve chosen double Chelsea defence over Manchester City is due to the longevity of the good fixture runs.
In a direct comparison between Azpilicueta and Ruben Dias (£6.1m), Azpilicueta has a higher ceiling. Simply reference the two assists against Southampton and his previous performances in a right wing back role.
Trent Alexander-Arnold without Harvey Elliot
With the new system Klopp has implemented, Harvey Elliot (£5.4m) occupied a wider position on the right side.
He was more than capable of playing in this position due to his quick feet and spatial awareness.
Elliot produced mature performances throughout the early part of the season. Playing in such a wide position can be challenging.
It’s often a low option area and requires intelligent defensive covering. This will ensure the right back doesn’t get exposed when they bomb forward.
Alexander-Arnold embodies this philosophy more than anyone else. He would occupy a hybrid role of a wide right central midfielder/number eight.
The purpose is to increase creativity from central areas. It also changes the angle of his cross to make it more difficult for the opposition to defend. As a result, it enables Mohammed Salah (£12.7m) to play more centrally.
It clearly worked for all parties as Liverpool have been far more fluid in possession.
In terms of Alexander-Arnold specifically, his underlying numbers are second to none. An xA of 2.34 and xGI of 2.9 (ranking first amongst defenders in both categories), was accumulated in just five appearances.
Without Harvey Elliot, I expect a tweak in the system. Naby Keita (£5.0m) and Jordan Henderson (£5.0m) are unlikely to facilitate Trent in the way Elliot did.
As such, I expect one of two things (the latter being the more likely) to occur. Trent could revert to a predominantly overlapping role with the right central midfielder tucking in.
Otherwise, Liverpool could utilise the back three on the ball more to facilitate Trent moving into midfield.
Missing Harvey Elliot isn’t a good thing for Alexander-Arnold owners. However, it’s not detrimental.
The one thing I like about Trent is he provides a sense of longevity within your FPL team.
Liverpool’s fixture run is mixed until Gameweek 13 where it significantly improves.
Klopp’s side have proven to be fixture proof nonetheless. With Trent’s attacking capability, and general higher ceiling compared to any defender, it makes him favourable in all of those fixtures.
I’d get Trent and sacrifice going with five big hitters at the back. His ownership entices me even more as his high ceiling returns will bolster your rank significantly.
The only thing I’d be cautious about is the effect of no Elliot in the team, but I’m fairly sure Trent will continue to perform.
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