FPL Gameweek 23 picks: Defence to the fore as Liverpool keep it clean

Forget about goals this week – if you are looking for FPL reinforcements, defence is the area to focus on.

And there is no need to overthink things: start with the team who have kept six straight clean sheets.

Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m), Joe Gomez (£5.2) and goalkeeper Alisson Becker (£6.1m) are the PA news agency’s top three recommendations for gameweek 23, on a defensively-dominated list.

Case for the defence

Top FPL defensive picks for gameweek 23
Trent Alexander-Arnold edges out Joe Gomez as this week’s top overall pick (PA graphic)

PA has developed a Transfer Score metric, with a player’s form accounting for 50 per cent of the rating and the rest made up by cost, ownership and upcoming fixture difficulty rating (FDR).

The top 11 players on week 23’s list are made up of eight defenders, including six from Liverpool or Everton, both those teams’ goalkeepers and West Ham midfielder Mark Noble (£5.0m), himself most notable for his defensive work.

Alexander-Arnold leads the way with a transfer score of 79, with a league-high form score of 10.0 still boosted by his monster 24-point haul in gameweek 19.

If his £7.5million fee is too high for you, his colleague Gomez is available at £5.2m and will match his clean sheet points, though he is unlikely to replicate the young full-back’s attacking output.

Top FPL goalkeeping picks for gameweek 23
Alisson and Jordan Pickford join their defensive colleagues in the selection frame (PA graphic)

His transfer score is 78 and Alisson (74) is the only remaining player over 70 this week, with Everton full-back Djibril Sidibe (£5.4) on 69 and Reds counterpart Andy Robertson (£7.0m) on 68 – both with the ability to pick up points at either end of the field.

The Toffees’ Mason Holgate (£4.4m), Lucas Digne (£5.7m) and keeper Jordan Pickford (£5.3m) remain in the mix, with the £4.4m Holgate especially tempting, with Southampton’s Jack Stephens (£4.3m) and West Ham’s Fabian Balbuena (£4.3m) also flying high.

The £4.3m Balbuena is virtually unselected and has a double game-week approaching.

A Noble effort

Top FPL midfield picks for gameweek 23
Mark Noble is the one interloper in this week’s defensive dominance (PA graphic)

The Hammers skipper is the one more advanced player to break into the top 10, ranking fifth in between Sidibe and Robertson with a transfer score of 68.

His sub-one per cent ownership is the driving force, coupled of course with his brace of goals against Bournemouth in gameweek 21.

Watford provide the other players on the midfield podium, with Abdoulaye Doucoure‘s (£5.6m) two goals and two assists in his last three games and bonus-point haul nudging him ahead of team-mate Ismaila Sarr (£6.2m) – who has a goal and two assists in that time – by a margin of 0.1 in transfer score.

West Ham’s Pablo Fornals (£6.0) is behind Sarr by an even smaller margin and, with 0.5 per cent ownership, should also be in your thoughts.

Firmino steps forward

Top FPL attacking picks for gameweek 23
Everton and Liverpool provide our top attacking picks (PA graphic)

Roberto Firmino’s (£9.3m) outstanding performances this season have largely not translated into the biggest points haul among Liverpool’s fearsome frontline.

But two goals against Leicester and one at Tottenham have lifted the Brazilian to 100 FPL points for the season, a form average of 5.4 and a transfer score of 62 – second among all strikers this week.

In keeping with the current theme, you need only look across Stanley Park to find his fellow pace-setter as Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£5.9m), with a score of 64, remains a key man for Everton.

Fit-again Hornets skipper Troy Deeney (£6.2m) completes the attacking podium on 61 after almost breaking Bournemouth’s goal for his fourth strike in five games.

His team also provide the third-ranked goalkeeper, Ben Foster, to establish themselves as the nearest form rivals to Merseyside’s red-hot pair.