Fantasy Premier League

FPL set-pieces: Reds' defensive duo bring rewards

By The Scout 6 Jun 2019
Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold, Livverpool

The Scout on why Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold provide regular attacking returns

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When building a Fantasy Premier League squad, knowing the set-piece takers for each club can give managers the edge over mini-league rivals.

Ahead of 2019/20, The Scout analyses which players to target.

Liverpool

Set-pieces played a significant part in Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m) and Trent Alexander-Arnold’s (£7.0m) outstanding FPL seasons.

Liverpool scored a total of 22 goals from free-kicks or corners, six more than any other side.

Van Dijk proved their main attacking threat in such situations.

All four of the centre-back's goals came from set-pieces, while his total of 19 headed attempts was among the top five players in FPL.

Liverpool's potential is made all the greater by the delivery of Alexander-Arnold and James Milner (£5.5m).

Liverpool's set-piece takers
Choice Penalty Corner Free-kick
First Milner Alexander-Arnold Alexander-Arnold
Second Salah Milner Shaqiri
Third Firmino Salah Salah 

Between them, they supplied 40 of the 59 chances Liverpool created at free-kicks or corners.

Milner ranked top, with 23 to Alexander-Arnold’s 17, but the latter was more productive in FPL.

Alexander-Arnold claimed four assists last season from set-pieces, more than any team-mate.

Record-breakers

The right-back was also a considerable goal threat at set-pieces.

He took nine direct free-kicks, a total that was among the top 10 in FPL, and he scored with one against Watford in Gameweek 13.

Liverpool also kept a league-high 21 clean sheets, ensuring Van Dijk and Alexander-Arnold were among the top three points-scoring defenders in FPL, along with team-mate Andrew Robertson (£7.0m).

Both Robertson and Van Dijk broke the points record for a defender, while Alexander-Arnold’s average of 6.4 points per match was more than any regular FPL starter.

Reaping rewards

Looking ahead to 2019/20, the reduced minutes of Milner could further lift Alexander-Arnold’s prospects.

Milner, 33, started in only one of Liverpool’s final 10 Gameweeks. If this lack of pitch time continues, it will hand more set-pieces to the right-back, while Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) would also benefit.

The Egyptian took and scored three penalties last season but is second-choice behind Milner for spot-kicks.

Liverpool were awarded seven penalties in 2018/19, so Salah could be even more prolific this season.

See: FPL set-pieces: Players to target from each club

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