MADE 4 LIVERPOOL PLAYER OF THE MONTH – DECEMBER
New Year’s Day is almost here, but before then we have to take a look back at December and crown a Player of the Month. This month of course saw the World Cup reach its conclusion before club football restarted in the final weeks of the month.
It was a tough return for the Reds, with a trip to the Etihad in the fourth round of the League Cup ending in a 3-2 defeat which saw the defense of the trophy lifted back in February come to a premature end. Jürgen Klopp’s men then went to Villa Park and earned a 3-1 win as the Premier League resumed.
The final game of the month saw Leicester City turned over at Anfield last night. A far from convincing performance from the Reds but ultimately they got over the line with two own goals by Wout Faes. Here are the top performing players over the course of December:
3. Fabinho Tavares – avg. rating (7.3)
The 29 year old missed last night’s encounter because his wife was expecting their first child. He was sorely missed as Leicester found so much joy breaking through midfield. Dewsbury-Hall especially, enjoyed too much space as seen for his early goal.
Fabinho was enduring a rough patch of form before the World Cup but seems to have roared back to form since his return. He stepped off the bench at the Etihad and immediately put himself about and made his presence felt.
He won the most tackles in the game (4), won 6 out of his 7 duels and produced a goalline block to deny De Bruyne. He started at Villa Park and was once again crucial. He provided a shield for the defence and proved hard to beat in the middle of the park.
Going the other way, he was unlucky not to score after his curler from the edge of the box whistled past the post. Hopefully he can keep up this level of performance when he returns to the side after becoming a father for the very first time.
Fabinho won the most tackles (6) in the entire Liverpool squad in December. In fact he won more tackles in his last two appearances (6) than he managed in his last twelve games (4) before the World Cup.
2. Thiago Alcantara – avg. rating (7.3)
The Spanish maestro earned himself a welcome break after surprisingly being left out of Spain’s World Cup squad. He returned from the break recharged and took full part in the mid-season training camp as well as both Dubai Super Cup friendlies.
He started all three games in the month and acquitted himself well. At City, he was the best outfield player in red. His confidence to get on the ball in the face of a relentless press and find a pass helped a great deal as Bajcetic and Elliott struggled alongside him.
He dipped below his usual high standards against Villa, with a lack of intensity seeing him ran ragged at times. He was back to his brilliant best last night as he marshalled and patrolled the middle of the pitch to outstanding effect against Leicester.
Just like at the Etihad, he did the job of three men, as his partners (Henderson and Elliott) struggled to get to grips with the game. Thiago thundered into challenges, counter pressed vigorously, and sprayed passes across the pitch to aid the Reds’ comeback from a goal deficit. A real joy to watch.
Thiago vs Leicester:
• Most touches (112)
• Most attempted passes (92)
• Most completed passes (81)
• Most duels won (13)
• Most fouls won (6)
• Joint Most tackles won (3)
Outstanding yet again.
1. Trent Alexander-Arnold – avg. rating (7.5)
The young Scouser has found it tough going this season. A personal dip in form coincided with a general downturn in team performances and saw him become the target of some scathing criticism. Gareth Southgate’s comments certainly didn’t help, with the 23 year old’s game forensically picked apart by pundits.
He was named in England’s World Cup squad despite the constant debate. As expected, Southgate didn’t hand him a single start in the competition, with the Three Lions knocked out in the quarter finals by France.
Trent could have been forgiven for feeling sorry for himself but he returned to Merseyside ready to get back to his best, and get back to his best he has. Having missed the trip to the Etihad with an illness, he marked his return at Villa Park and played one of the passes of the season to help set up the opening goal.
A corner was cleared to him 40 yards from goal. He took a touch to set himself before finding Robertson’s angled run with an astonishing ball with the outside of his right boot. He was in peak form, with his range of passing drawing audible gasps from the crowd.
Against Leicester last night, it was the other side of his game which drew praise. He single handedly stopped Harvey Barnes on several occasions with well timed tackles, even bailing out Joel Matip at one point.
It was a top drawer defensive display and he was named Man of the Match as a result. He admitted post-match that he hadn’t helped himself at times this season, but it’s great to see him silencing his critics after a tough period. Long may it continue.
Despite not registering a single assist this season, only Mohamed Salah (46) has created more chances than Trent Alexander-Arnold (41) for Liverpool across all competitions this campaign.
Highest rated individual performance of the month:
° Andy Robertson vs Aston Villa – (9/10)
° Thiago Alcantara vs Leicester City – (9/10)
Made4Liverpool 22/23 Player of the Month:
August – Harvey Elliott
September – Thiago Alcantara
October – Alisson Becker
November – Darwin Nunez
December – Trent Alexander-Arnold
*Average ratings are collated from the player ratings posted on this site after every match. Players must have earned a rating in more than half the number of games in the month under review.