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FPL tips: No time to panic despite Liverpool shocker

Aston Villa v Liverpool – Premier League – Villa Park
(Image credit: Rui Vieira)

Ollie Watkins rewarded his Fantasy Premier League backers at the weekend, while Patrick Bamford‘s scoring run ended – but what do the underlying figures tell us?

According to the Premier League website, Threat produces “a value that examines a player’s threat on goal” – with historical analysis suggesting a score of around 100 equates to a goal’s worth of chances.

We take a dive into the ratings for gameweek four, starting with an offer of encouragement to the shell-shocked Premier League champions.

No need for Red alert

Mohamed Salah, right, retrieves the ball after scoring against Aston Villa

Mohamed Salah, right, remained a threat even as Liverpool collapsed (Rui Vieira/PA)

Liverpool’s horror show against Aston Villa will have been a shock to managers relying on their players – other than Mohamed Salah, who remained productive by scoring his side’s two goals.

While the defensive signs were undeniably concerning, particularly if goalkeeper Alisson Becker faces a long lay-off, the threat ratings suggest the game was significantly closer than the scoreline made it seem.

Villa trailed only Tottenham, who similarly demolished Manchester United, as the top-ranked team by that measure but Liverpool followed in third, just four points behind on 264 to Villa’s 268 – suggesting a 3-3 draw would have been a likelier outcome.

Jurgen Klopp’s side remain top of the season threat ratings with 1,144 for an average of 286 per week, while Salah is the top-ranked player and Sadio Mane remains fifth despite missing the Villa game after testing positive for Covid-19.

United we fall

Bruno Fernandes scores Manchester United's penalty against Tottenham

Bruno Fernandes’ penalty was as good as it got for Manchester United (Alex Livesey/PA)

The other team licking their wounds from Sunday, though, will find little solace in the underlying statistics.

United created only 63 points of threat in their 6-1 loss to Spurs, with Bruno Fernandes their leading player on 23 after scoring a penalty.

Only Crystal Palace, with 51 in their 4-0 loss to Chelsea, created less and it is clear Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s deadline-day raft of signings have work to do to turn the tide.

Spurs, by contrast, topped the weekly chart on 311 and are Liverpool’s closest challengers in the season averages.

Elsewhere, Sheffield United finally scored their first goal of the season at the fourth time of asking but recorded their second-lowest threat score as a team, 70 in their 2-1 loss to Arsenal. That matched Leicester for the fourth-lowest score of the week, just ahead of West Brom’s 66.

Kane back to his best?

Top Threat scores in FPL gameweek 4

Patrick Bamford was the only non-goalscorer among the top 10 Threat scores (PA graphic)

Amid a succession of injuries, the question of whether England captain Harry Kane is truly back to his best has lingered for some time.

FPL organisers gave their verdict with a drop in his price to £10.5m at the start of the new season, after the Tottenham striker fell from £12.5m to £11m for the start of last season.

He has responded with three goals and six assists already to rank second in threat behind Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin and first in the overall ICT (influence, creativity and threat) index on the game website.

He trailed only Villa’s hat-trick hero Watkins in threat for gameweek four, 75 to 92, and is one of only nine players to record a threat score above 20 in all four weeks so far – or 12 who have done so in every game if including the four clubs not in action in week one.

Also among that number is Bamford. The Leeds frontman scored in each of his first three games and though he was kept at bay by Manchester City on Saturday, Bamford’s threat score of 74 was his highest of the season. It also ranked third among all players in gameweek four and made him the only member of the top 10 who did not score.

Watkins, of course, racked up threat points equivalent to “only” one goal, so be cautious of a knee-jerk reaction to his treble.