Every month we rank the players leading the charge to be crowned Player of the Year, as a Liverpool star retains his slot at No 1 and our top 10 boasts FOUR new entries.
Every month we’ll be ranking the Premier League’s 10 best players in a bid to calculate who is on course to be crowned Player of the Year.
We’ll explain our thoughts, show you the climbers and fallers and name the players threatening to break into the top 10….
1/ Sadio Mane
A volleyed winner against Wolves to send Liverpool into 2020 with a huge 13-point lead at the top of the table was a wholly appropriate way for Mane to finish off the year. The Senegalese striker smashed home 30 goals in 2019, six more than any other Reds player, and his influence in Jurgen Klopp’s side has been enormous. Little wonder the Real Madrid rumours have resurfaced!
He’d started the month off with a goal in the Merseyside derby and, naturally, he was instrumental in Liverpool becoming Club World champions, setting up Roberto Firmino’s winner in the final against Flamengo.
(Last month: 1st)
2/ Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne remains on a different plane to most mere mortals and his assist count of 12 is four more than any other player this season. He’s been amongst the goals too in December, scoring a double in the 3-0 win at Arsenal and adding the clincher against Sheffield United last time. Just a wonderful player who never stops doing wonderful things.
(Last month: 2nd)
3/ Raheem Sterling
Five more goals in his final five games in December took Sterling’s tally this season to an eyewatering 24 in 33 games for club and country. Scored twice and later hit the bar against Wolves so will wonder how on earth he finished on the losing side. City are the league’s top scorers and Sterling’s contribution has been huge.
(Last month: 3rd)
4/ Trent Alexander-Arnold
Turning into an absolute phenomenon and redefining the role of right-back. Produced one of the performances of the season in Liverpool’s 4-0 rout at Leicester, assisting the first three and crashing a brilliant fourth. Now a world champion as well as a European champion and no player (not even Kevin De Bruyne) has provided more assists since the start of last season. A reminder that he’s only just turned 21.
(Last month: 6th)
5/ Jamie Vardy
Five goals in the month of December helped Leicester stay second and that despite missing one of the Foxes matches to attend the birth of his baby girl. What a guy. Vardy has 17, repeat 17, Premier League goals this season and that’s four more than anyone else. Still a deadly weapon at the age of 32.
(Last month: 4th)
6/ Virgil van Dijk
The Dutchman has made the odd little error here and there but Liverpool’s defence really stepped it up in December, keeping six clean sheets. The Reds have conceded five fewer Premier League goals (14 in 19 matches) than anyone else and Van Dijk is the main reason why – his organisational skills, positioning and all-round class helping Liverpool cruise clear at the top of the table.
(Last month: 5th)
7/ Jordan Henderson
Yes, he absolutely gets a place in the top ten. Liverpool were supposed to wobble after the loss of Fabinho but Henderson has stepped in and somehow made Liverpool even stronger in the base of midfield. Lifted the Club World Cup in Qatar, was superb in the statement win over Leicester and is playing a huge part – both as player and captain – in Liverpool’s march to the title.
The fact that he played more Premier League games than anyone in the last decade (308) is testament to his durability and versatility and the rewards are now coming thick and fast.
8/ Danny Ings
If this is getting too much of a Liverpool love-in (it’s hard not to with the Reds a mile clear), then how about a player from the lower end of the table. Ings is the outstanding candidate and, after scoring in his final three games in November, the busy, bustly Southampton striker netted five times in his six December starts.
Only two players have scored more Premier League goals than Ings this season and there we were thinking he looked a bit like a competition winner when playing for Liverpool.
9/ Adama Traore
For several seasons, the power, physique and woeful end product suggested Traroe had somehow turned up in the wrong sport. Football wasn’t really for him. Give Rugby League or Gridiron a whirl mate. December showed that he’s fast becoming one of the most feared forward players in the Premier League, his pace, assists and goals helping Wolves stay on track for a top four challenge.
10/ Dele Alli
Jose Mourinho wanted the real Dele Alli, not his imaginary brother, and he’s got him. The England midfielder has stepped it up with four goals and three assists since Mourinho took charge, his Boxing Day winner against Brighton particularly taking the eye.
Bubbling Under: Jack Grealish, Wilfred Ndidi, John Fleck, Raul Jimenez, Marcus Rashford, Tammy Abraham, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ricardo Pereira, Lys Mousset.