Defender focus: Why you would be right to back Alexander-Arnold

Trent Alexander-Arnold has not exactly flown under the radar this season as a Fantasy Premier League option, but if you are one of the 79 per cent of managers yet to buy him, there is still time.

The Liverpool and England player is the third highest-scoring defender in terms of FPL points this season, behind only team-mates Virgil Van Dijk and Andrew Robertson.

He is also third on the list of defenders with FPL assists (eight) and has racked up some serious clean sheet points in the Reds’ title-challenging defence – here is why you should back him in the final three games.

The fixture list looks kind

A table showing the projected FPL points for defenders in the final three games of the season

The Premier League being as strong as it is means no game can be dismissed as easy, but according to the FPL’s own Fixture Difficulty Ranking (FDR) system, Liverpool could not have hoped for a much better title run-in.

With Huddersfield (h) Newcastle (a) and Wolves (h) remaining, the Reds do not have a game with an FDR higher than three (the toughest fixtures being a five) and that adds up to some serious projected points for Alexander-Arnold.

Based on the 20-year-old’s average score in matches with the same FDR this season, Alexander-Arnold is predicted to win 22.6 points in the final three games of the season – can he produce with the title on the line?

Liverpool’s defence hasn’t looked this good for years

A table showing the tightest defences in the Premier League according to expected goals

Liverpool’s attack got them to the Champions League final last season, but it has arguably been their defence which has sent them on a title charge this time around.

The acquisition of Van Dijk appears to have added solidity to a back four already stocked with excellent young full-backs – as a result Liverpool have conceded just 20 goals in 35 games, the best defensive record in the division.

It has been no fluke. Expected goals (xG) illustrates the likelihood of a chance being converted into a goal, and Liverpool’s defence has given up less than a goal’s worth of opportunities in more than three quarters of their 2018/19 league games.

That is why Alexander-Arnold has 14 FPL clean sheets so far this season – but perhaps his most attractive quality to FPL managers is his strength going forward.

He is the most ‘creative’ FPL defender by a distance right now

A table showing the most creative defenders over the past 10 Premier League games according to the Fantasy Premier League's Creativity score

The official FPL website has developed specific measures which indicate how useful players might be to FPL managers, and one of those is creativity.

Creativity, according to the FPL website, “assesses player performance in terms of producing goalscoring opportunities for others” looking at passing and crossing.

A score is then produced, and in the last 10 matches no defender (who has featured in at least seven of those 10 games) has a higher Creativity score than Alexander-Arnold’s 37.9.

All you need to know is that this score suggests the England right-back is still in chance-creating form – if defenders’ assists are the cherry on top of your FPL cake, Alexander-Arnold is your man.