From inspirational Henderson to immaculate Van Dijk – Ranking Liverpool’s 5 best players in January

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January was yet another perfect month in the Premier League for Liverpool, with several players standing out from the rest.

In the past, January has sometimes been the Reds’ poorest month, but that couldn’t have been further from the case in 2019/20.

January started with a 2-0 victory at home to Sheffield United, followed by the memorable win against Everton in the FA Cup third round.

Tottenham and Man United were both dispatched of in the league, before a hard-earned late triumph away to Wolves.

A heavily rotated side then drew 2-2 at Shrewsbury in the FA Cup, and January ended with Wednesday’s comfortable 2-0 victory at West Ham.

It means Klopp’s men are an unfathomable 19 points clear of Man City with 14 games remaining, with title glory edging closer by the week.

Here’s how we ranked Liverpool’s top five players in January.

 

5. Roberto Firmino

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 11, 2020: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Appearances: 6
Goals: 2
Assists: 0


Firmino may not have been prolific in front of goal so far this season—10 goals in 35 appearances—but his penchant for scoring crucial efforts is undeniable.

Having netted the winner in the Club World Cup final win over Flamengo in December, the 28-year-old has continued in a similar vein in 2020.

Firmino was the difference between the two sides at Spurs, scoring the only goal in ruthless fashion, and he also snatched a vital late winner at Wolves.

Both were expertly taken strikes that very much silenced the notion that the Brazilian is not a natural finisher.

It wasn’t only in front of goal where Firmino shone, however, looking back to his best in terms of his all-round linkup play and influence.

Particularly good against Spurs, United and West Ham, he is hitting top gear at a perfect time, with Sadio Mane currently sidelined.

 

4. Alisson

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 19, 2020: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mate goalkeeper Alisson Becker during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Appearances: 5
Clean Sheets: 4
Assists: 1


Remember when Liverpool supposedly ‘didn’t miss’ Alisson when he was out injured, simply because the Reds kept winning without him?

Almost as though he has been stung by such an accusation, the 27-year-old has been magnificent ever since returning, even usurping last season’s form.

January was an imperious month for the world’s best goalkeeper, with a number of standout moments.

The assist for Mohamed Salah at home to United, and subsequent celebration, could well end up being the iconic moment of the season come May.

There was also an outstanding, underrated save to keep out Wolves speedster Adama Traore, but his best display of the month came at West Ham.

Alisson is so good that he makes everything look ridiculously easy—most normal ‘keepers would have conceded various times in January, whereas Liverpool’s No. 1 was beaten just once.

 

3. Joe Gomez

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 29, 2019: Liverpool's Joe Gomez during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by Richard Roberts/Propaganda)

Appearances: 6
Clean Sheets: 5


Liverpool have conceded eight goals in Gomez’s last 35 Premier League appearances—that’s how good he has been.

It took a while for the youngster to regain top form after a broken leg, but he has profited from an injury to Joel Matip and never looked back.

January saw Gomez put together an almost faultless month at the heart of Liverpool’s defence, with Raul Jimenez’s header the only goal the Reds conceded with him on the pitch.

It is hard to pick a best performance, such was his level of consistency, but he was particularly imperious against Sheffield United and Everton, marshalling an inexperienced back line superbly in the latter match.

Staying fit for long periods remains Gomez’s biggest issue, but if he does that, the sky is the limit.

 

2. Virgil van Dijk

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 23, 2020: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates his side's opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Appearances: 5
Goals: 1
Clean Sheets: 4


Van Dijk is taken for granted now, because a world-class level is expected every time he takes to the field.

By most defenders’ standards January was an outrageous month, but by Van Dijk’s it was nothing more than business as usual.

The giant Dutchman edges Gomez because he was slightly more dominant in his all-round game and also powered home the opening goal when United came to Anfield.

He played every minute of league action in January, like his centre-back colleague, and was never anything other than immaculate.

Van Dijk is playing at a level we have never seen at Liverpool, despite the past greatness of Alan Hansen, Jamie Carragher and others.

He is one of the best defenders of his generation.

 

1. Jordan Henderson

LONDON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 29, 2020: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson celebrates after the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Appearances: 5
Goals: 1
Assists: 1


Imagine being told a year ago that Jordan Henderson would one day be the second-favourite to win the PFA Player of the Year award.

It would have seemed implausible, but that’s how good he has been this season, and particularly in January.

After a below-par start to the campaign, the skipper has been phenomenal ever since he scored against Spurs in late October.

While many expected Fabinho‘s injury to hamper Liverpool’s title charge, the Reds have won every league game without him and Henderson has been as good as anyone.

The 29-year-old takes home first prize after a January that combined quality on the ball and positional brilliance in the No. 6 role, as well as inspirational captaincy.

While influential-but-selfless displays were generally the order of the day, Henderson’s goal and assist at Wolves highlighted his importance in the final third too.

Mane and Kevin De Bruyne will provide strong competition, as could Trent Alexander-Arnold and Van Dijk, but on this form that Player of the Year prize is not out of the question.

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