Written by Jønathan Kahn. You can catch him on twitter @jkisthe1. Kahn has ranked as high as 120th on the All-Time FPL Manager list!
A quick glance at the fixture list and we can see that, in the weeks to come, Liverpool’s fixtures take a significant downturn. The next three look reasonable enough (NEW, che, shu) given Chelsea’s defensive struggles whilst the Liverpool men are the standout captaincy choice for GW7. But after that Liverpool embark on a run of fixtures that reads (LEI, mnu, TOT, avl, MCI) from Gameweeks 8-12. Now, I’m not saying Liverpool won’t score in those games; you would be surprised if they didn’t, but for most of them you simply wouldn’t consider Salah or Mane as your first choice captain. The only fixture in that run where you might is Gameweek 11 against Aston Villa. But that week sees Manchester City host Southampton, making it very easy to captain Sterling or Aguero. So that begs the question if you aren’t going to captain them could there be logic to selling them, at least temporarily and using the funds saved to upgrade other areas of the team. I will primarily be looking at ways of using the wildcard to manoeuvre through this, but for those who no longer have it, it could still be workable and I will try to explain how.
The Wildcarding them out route
This is a pretty simple strategy. In either Gameweek 8 (immediately after the Sheffield United game) or Gameweek Nine (over the international break) you play the first wildcard and simply leave them out. By opting for de Bruyne (if you don’t already have him), Son or Pepe you could save yourself around £2-2.5m which could be used elsewhere. So, instead of having a Greenwood/Wickham type striker AND a Dendoncker/Cantwell type midfielder you simply have one alongside a Vardy or a Martial depending on your preferred set-up (so a midfield of Sterling, KDB, Pepe, Martial, Mount with Vardy, Pukki/Haller/Barnes and Greenwood/Wickham)
To get back to a Mane or Salah you would ideally want two free transfers for Gameweek 13. With them, you could sell KDB down to a mid for around the 7m mark which would free up enough for Mane in for Pepe. If you were willing to spend four points you could even return to the two budget attackers set up which would allow for Salah (or go cheaper than £7m which whichever midfielder looks viable at that point. If you happen to have Aguero rather than De Bruyne, then Aguero to a Pukki/Haller/Rashford type striker does the same job.
Alternatively, you could apply the same logic that made you sell Salah to Sterling. From Gameweeks 13 to 19, City face a run that reads (CHE, new, bur, MNU, ars, LEI, wol). Again it would be silly to suggest that City won’t score but in those 2 weeks, you can captain Salah or Mane (BRI) and maybe risk Vardy (WAT) or Mount (AVL). Not ideal but a possibility. The downside to this move is you then need the same contingency to get Sterling back in
The Wildcarding them in route
This one is slightly less complicated. It goes like this. You will want to have two free transfers for Gameweek eight. You sell Salah/Mane for whichever of KDB/Pepe/Son you fancy and immediately this gives you £2-2.5m. This is why you want two frees. If you wanted to bring in someone like Vardy you would roll the other Free Transfer to get him after the Liverpool game. Or you could use the other free to bring in a Martial/Mount type again (if you were happy to keep Pukki/Haller/Barnes etc.) and ignore Vardy (unless you had a wad of cash sitting around or someone you were willing to downgrade) So again you have a midfield of Sterling, Martial, Mount, KDB, Pepe/Son with 2 from Haller/Barnes/Pukki/Vardy. Or if you were on Aguero over KDB, something like Sterling, Pepe, Martial, Mount +1 with Aguero and Pukki/Haller/Barnes. In the short term could this offer a better opportunity to maximise points over Salah and someone like Cantwell.
Once we get to Gameweek 13 you then have the wildcard available to get back on Salah/Mane easily. The good thing here is that the third international break (the last one before Christmas) falls between 12 and 13 so it’s potentially a great time to play it anyway. At that point, you can set your team up however you want. Perhaps the downside here is that with only six gameweeks to work in, you could be making quite a few transfers in a short space of time.
But I don’t have a wildcard anymore
Well if this applies to you, it’s more difficult but not impossible to do, though you might have to be prepared to spend a few points. Essentially you would have to combine the two strategies, so transfer out in eight or nine and spread the funds over the next two to three weeks. Then save the transfer over the International break to make the moves to bring one of them back in. It’s not ideal obviously but if it was something you wanted to do then you have to work with what you have.