Next in our new ‘player value’ series, we talk about coverage: Is Mané suitable “cover” should we decide to go without Salah?
One eye on the past – based on the long-term, he only returned an average of 2.3pts per game (goals, assists & bonus points) – which is some way off where we’d need him to be versus our value for money target of 3.3 points per game (5.3 including appearance points).
Contrast that to Salah (click for review) who was 6pts per game (goals, assists & bonus points) over the same period, and we find our first clue as to what the additional £3.5M buys us – almost 3 times the points.
Looking at his influence stats over the long-term, Mané is involved in 29% of Liverpool’s goals (as high as 38% in the medium-term), and has goal involvement in 46% of games.
These numbers are tremendous, so it isn’t obvious as to why he comes up so short versus our value for money target – but the clue can be found in the last ten games, where he scored one goal on 3 occasions, an assist and a double assist and only scored 2 bonus points for his contributions.
Here is where the astute amongst you will be scratching your heads, because Salah was never renowned for collecting bonus points, indeed he only picked up 3 in the last ten games (after a 4 goal and 1 assist haul versus Watford). So the bonus points isn’t a key differential between the two, it is Salah’s goal involvement that is the key differential.
One eye on the future – our algorithms are predicting Liverpool have the potential to score 9 goals across their first five fixtures and 7 in their first three.
Mané’s historical stats versus similar opposition is good with 0.6 to 1.6 big chance involvement and 0.6 goal involvement per game. So the indications are that he should continue where he left off – but with nothing to suggest his bonus points will improve.
There is also nothing to suggest that Salah’s form should dip either – in fact in the last 5 games, Liverpool’s form dipped following their exit from the Champions League, but Salah’s goal involvement ensured he still proved to be good value.
What to do? – Mané can meet the goal-involvement expectations for his price, but his lack of bonus points see him struggle to hit his value for money target. So considering his potential in isolation, we’d advise caution on bringing him in.
For those considering him as a cover for Salah, definitely not – and before you think the additional £3.5M in the bank will make the difference, recognise that our argument takes the player values into account (it all centres around their relative value for money). Not to mention that with an ownership of ~50% and a high probability that most will captain him, Salah’s potential three-times the points return could also count up to double that (due to captaincy).
FPL Tip: Coverage is a controversial concept in FPL. Coverage is acceptable where – “x-team has great fixtures so I must get some coverage”. What is flawed, is picking one player to cover another’s points – because you should pick players based on the best potential points returns, and/or the best value for money. And granted, sometimes you might not have the budget to afford a Salah, therefore it is completely acceptable to bring in the next-best player. But don’t kid yourself you can cover a player who has proven can score 3 times the points of your chosen cover.