After a two week vacation, the FPL was back with a bang as ‘most’ of the premium superstars delivered with managers racking up a season-high average of 60. But then Virgil van Dijk gets injured and the Reds’ steady back-line doesn’t look so steady anymore, especially with Alisson also out.
Option one: You don’t
Sure, Virgil van Dijk is out injured and sure Liverpool looked an incredibly solid outfit with the Dutchman in the side but his absence hasn’t been felt so far. In their one game played, without VVD, Liverpool finished with a clean sheet against Ajax. Fabinho replaced the Dutchman in central defense and the Brazilian not only put up stellar numbers but a stellar performance to cement his status as a key man in this Liverpool team.
Not that he already wasn’t but Fabinho’s performance made Joe Gomez a little steadier as well and that bodes well for the Reds. It doesn’t mean you pick the Brazilian but it does mean that Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson become very viable options to have. Yes, that has shocked many especially after a haphazard start but players that good, don’t just become bad overnight which is why both full-backs need time.
They’re bound to find their form, especially Alexander-Arnold, and with a clash against Sheffield United, things could certainly get very interesting for the Reds especially once Alisson Becker returns from his injury. Their defense should, in theory, become more solid and once Joel Matip is back from injury, the German could find his way back into the team
Option two: Replacing them with Premium options
They are the most expensive defenders in FPL this season, so any replacement will net you a tidy sum to spend elsewhere but replacing premium with premium is always hard. But this time it’s a little easier especially with the performances of Lucas Digne (£6.2m), Sergio Reguilon (£5.5m), Timothy Castagne (£5.8m), Ben Chilwell (£5.7m) and wildcard Alex Telles (£5.5m) all doing well.
Now while the final option, aka Telles, is yet to make his Premier League bow, the other three men have all killed it so far this season, especially Lucas Digne, who is the best possible choice. The Frenchman is a key part of Don Carlo’s Evertonian team and has 27 points already in just four games. However, the Toffees haven’t kept a clean sheet since their first game of the season, which is a small, tiny problem.
The same does apply to Castagne as well with his only clean coming in a 3-0 win over West Brom at the start of the season but his attacking returns have seen him collect three assists. Reguilon, however, has only now become a key part of Jose Mourinho’s defense but even then, their defense is a little shaky. Offensively, the Spaniard looks good with him notching up an assist in only his second Premier League appearance.
That leaves both Chilwell and Telles, although so far we’ve seen very little from both men for their new teams although what we’ve seen has been a big plus. Chilwell, has often been Chelsea’s main offensive threat down the left and while Frank Lampard has a lot of problems to solve, the left-back may no longer be one. Telles has played only one game for his new side and that was in the Champions League against PSG where he looked great at both ends. But he isn’t nailed down which does leave us wondering, is Ben Chilwell the best possible option?
Option three: Bring in a budget defender and spend the extra money
£7.5m and £7.1m, that’s what it will cost for you to have Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson in your teams and it’s certainly a tad expensive. So why not go budget? Tariq Lamptey (£4.1m), Aaron Cresswell (£5.0m), Matty Cash (£5.0m) and Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.5m) are all brilliant options especially, ol' Lamptey. The Brighton full-back has proved to be a revelation so far and with a decent run of fixtures, Lamptey could be the man to pick.
Creswell, Cash and Walker-Peters haven’t exactly fired as of yet but they’re bubbling up to be great picks for a manager that actually has the patience to wait for it. Especially Cash because he’s as attacking a full-back as they come with him finishing last season, in the Championship, with eight goal contributions for Nottingham Forest. It’s not great, mind you, but Cash’s forays up and down the right flank won him a lot of plaudits and he’s continued that this season.
It’s great to watch especially now that Aston Villa can actually defend which makes for another article altogether. Cresswell, however, is another problem altogether and nothing proved that more than the first half against Tottenham. But, nothing proved exactly what the full-back could do than that second half with him causing serious problems. Now, unlike Villa, West Ham don’t have a defense that is in decent shape but it’s moving in that direction.