Fantasy football tips: Transfer and team guide for gameweek 12

Riyad Mahrez fires his penalty over the bar at Anfield last season
Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty in last season's 0-0 draw between Liverpool and Man City at Anfield

The highlight of this gameweek's Premier League fixtures is undoubtedly the match-up between the top two as unbeaten leaders Liverpool welcome reigning champions Manchester City to Anfield.

For fantasy football managers, though, this fixture presents a conundrum.

With most fantasy sides likely packed to the limit with players from both sides, who do you pick? Is either side going to manage a clean sheet? And which players are likely to get the goals?

BBC Sport digs into this fixture (and some of the rest) to try and find some solutions and also tip our cap to Statman Dave of the Fantasy 606 podcast for his bumper gameweek 11 points haul.

Ederson or Alisson? Sterling or Salah? Firmino or Aguero?

It is the weekend's big fixture - Liverpool v Manchester City, first v second, last season's runners-up v last season's champions. But who do you back to bring home fantasy points?

You'll probably remember that this much-hyped fixture produced a pretty cagey 0-0 draw last season, but the odds are stacked against that this time round. Liverpool have conceded in each of their last five at Anfield, City have only failed to score in six of their 62 Premier League away games under Pep Guardiola and, with Aymeric Laporte injured, the Blues' defence is far from settled.

"I think there's going to be goals," says Statman Dave. "Stack your attack and midfield. Keep Sterling, Salah, Mane and De Bruyne in there. A Nicolas Otamendi or Virgil van Dijk is a bit risky."

If you're going to have defenders from either side, probably best to cover yourself with either Andy Robertson or Trent Alexander-Arnold, both of whom impact at the other end of the field.

If you're weighing up who to pick up front, maybe this will help: Man City striker Sergio Aguero has made seven Premier League appearances at Anfield without scoring, while Liverpool's Roberto Firmino has had a hand in seven goals in his eight Premier League games against Man City.

Aguero v Firmino - form in last month
AgueroFirmino
Starts24
Goals10
Assists00
Shots69
Shooting accuracy16.67%55.56%
Chances created07
Expected goals1.211.9
Expected assists0.390.54

If you haven't already, you might want to gravitate towards Sadio Mane, who has been the standout fantasy player from either side of late. He scored and assisted at Aston Villa last weekend, he takes shots (11 in the past four games), creates chances (nine in the past four) and has the extra motivation of Guardiola suggesting (before backtracking) he might dive now and again.

One final heads-up - David Silva is a doubt with a muscle injury.

Best of the rest...

Last weekend, Jamie Vardy became the first player to score 10 Premier League goals this season. He has scored eight goals in his eight Premier League starts against Arsenal, who he faces this gameweek. It's a no-brainer to have him in your team this week.

Sheffield United have been the surprise defensive package so far this season (John Lundstram, we love you), but you may want to check out Watford and Bournemouth as well.

In their last four games each, the Cherries have three clean sheets, and the Hornets two. With the former at Newcastle and the latter at Norwich, you may want to consider goalkeepers Aaron Ramsdale and Ben Foster and defenders like Nathan Ake, Daryl Janmaat and Adam Smith (the last two are dirt cheap).

Lowest expected goals against in PL - last four games
TeamxG against
Liverpool2.68
Everton3.12
Bournemouth3.18
Man City3.81
Watford4.55

Other things to consider

  • Norwich City's Teemu Pukki scored with five of his first 11 shots in the Premier League - since then, the Finnish forward has scored with just one of his 19 efforts at goal.
  • After scoring in each of his first three Premier League games this season (4 goals in total), Burnley's Ashley Barnes has failed to score in any of his last seven in the competition. He's had as many yellow cards in those seven games as he's managed shots on target (2).
  • Only David McGoldrick (8) has had more shots on target without scoring in the Premier League this season than West Ham's Felipe Anderson (7). Indeed, the Brazilian has scored with just one of his last 16 shots on target in the competition, having found the net with eight of his previous 16 such attempts.
  • In all competitions, Everton's Theo Walcott has been involved in six goals in his last four appearances against his former side Southampton, scoring five and assisting one.
  • Southampton's last five Premier League goals have been scored by either James Ward-Prowse (2) or Danny Ings (3).
  • Since his first away Premier League appearance in February 2018, Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 16 away goals, the third most behind Harry Kane (17) and Jamie Vardy (21).

The Statman cleans up

He has had his doubters, but last week Statman Dave of the Fantasy 606 podcast gave them something to chew on with a whopping 97 points, thanks to a host of clean sheets in a back five and captaining Mane.

Speaking of clean sheets, Dave is backing Norwich, Chelsea and maybe Leicester this week.