By Tom Hulme – @ScoreFootball6
The season couldn’t have started much better for Liverpool Football Club this season, top of the league, unbeaten, and only one goal conceded thus far.
It looks like the defensive lapses that have burdened Liverpool for the last few years have been amended at last – shown especially by Virgil van Dijk’s winning of the club’s Player of the Month trophy.
He may have won the club award, but he wasn’t nominated for the Premier League prize – Spurs’ Lucas Moura won that honour – and, despite the Dutchman’s impressive performances so far, he likely wouldn’t be many people’s first-choice for the best player in August.
So, with that in mind, here are our top-five LFC players after the first month of fixtures:
5. Alisson Becker
The new goalkeeper has been solid between the sticks in his first season in the Premier League. Only one goal conceded, arguably he was at fault for it however it can surely be overseen with his sublime stop against Crystal Palace alongside an array of saves against Brighton.
The Brazilian made an instant memory in his first game when he chipped the ball over the head of Felipe Anderson whilst he was under a ton of pressure. He has a calmness and prowess on the ball that Liverpool fans haven’t seen from a goalkeeper in so long. His passing is excellent with his completion rate of 24.5 passes per game, and when coming out from corners, there aren’t many in the league looking more confident.
I’d give him an 8/10 so far with his only mistake leading to the goal against Leicester. However if he’s conceding one goal every four games I can’t see many fans being too unhappy.
4. Andy Robertson
Nicknamed Robertson Carlos by fans, it’s clear to see why he’s recently been appointed the captain of Scotland. Bombing up and down the left flank for 90 minutes per game, every game.
He’s covered every blade of grass on that side so far this season. He’s also got two assists to his name and a made an average of 64.3 passes per match. The wing back is defensively sound as well as being a huge asset going forward. Last season he was arguably the best player behind Salah and this season he’s got off to a flying start.
I’d give him a 9/10 so far, very rarely puts a foot wrong and is always full of energy. He’s a fan favourite and the national side captaincy is well justified when you watch him play for Liverpool. Can’t wait to see more from the Flying Scotsman this season.
3. Virgil van Dijk
Possibly the best defender currently playing the the Premier League, van Dijk has completely changed Liverpool’s defence and was instrumental in the back end of last season in getting the team to the Champions League final.
The goals conceded since his arrival have dropped greatly and his presence on the pitch is excellent. This season he’s won 4.3 aeriel duels per game and has averaged one tackles a game. He’s quick off the mark and sharp on the ball with great vision and intelligence that Liverpool have lacked at the back for a while now.
9/10, he won the player if the month award for the fist set of fixtures and if he can keep up his consistency he will be vital in the success of Liverpool football club and, at 25, can easily still develop into one of the best defenders in world football.
2. Sadio Mané
Many fans surprisingly tipped Mane to be the top scorer come the end of the season, ahead of Mo Salah or Roberto Firmino and, with four goals in as many games, there’s no arguing with that prediction so far.
He’s scored twice against West Ham, once against Palace and he scored one against Brighton. For a goal scorer he’s averaged 34.5 passes a game so far, as well of creating more than one goal scoring opportunity per game. With every season, the Senegalese has gotten better and he’s established himself as certainly a fan favourite.
On current form he gets 9/10 for me. I think along with many other Liverpool fans that this could be the season that we see Sadio shine, if he keeps up his momentum and keeps chipping in with goals and assists the rest will naturally follow. Last season the focus was on Salah for the most part, and rightly so. But this time round, Mané is in the driving seat and could take the well deserved glory that he has always been so close to during his time at Anfield.
1. James Milner
Even at 32 years old, Milly is playing as regularly and as well as many players in their mid 20’s. He’s tenacious, hungry, driven and an impeccable example to any future stars.
There is no argument that he is well on his way to becoming a Premier League legend, and the start he’s had this season shows that. Milner has featured in all four games to date, scoring one and assisting two goals. He is definitely one of Liverpool’s most consistent players with performances never dropping below a 7.5/10 in my opinion.
Although he doesn’t have many fancy tricks and skills or dazzling pace that the front three have, as a holding midfielder he creates so many opportunities for them to take charge of. Not only that but when Liverpool are off the ball you can be sure to see him getting back to help out his team and get really stuck in.
If you look at the stats he’s made two interceptions per game on average so far, and averaged 77 passes a game, a large number of them setting Liverpool away on the break or spreading the ball wide for the full backs to latch on to.
All in all and maybe as a slight surprise I’d give Milner a 9.2/10, and for me he’s been the most valuable to the team so far, with his knowledge and intelligence of the game, his experience through years of playing at the top level James is exactly what every team needs.