Premier League

Premier League Top Five, Round 23: Alisson and Van Dijk the difference for Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp's men created a 16-point advantage at the top of the table after defeating Manchester United.

8:00am on Monday 20th January 2020
Martin Macdonald
GK - Liverpool - 27 yrs
Jan 19, 2020

Alisson only actually made four saves in Liverpool's 2-0 victory versus Man Utd, but was key to the win in other ways. As the visitors pressed for a late equaliser, the Brazilian stopper opportunistically fired a long punt up and over everyone for Mo Salah to run through on goal and finish beyond David de Gea to score, earning himself a rare goalkeeping assist in the process.

He also exuded confidence in the Liverpool goal and was calm and composed in possession as the champions-elect played out from the back, while also making 11 ball recoveries.

Nick Pope
GK - Burnley - 27 yrs
Jan 19, 2020

It was a weekend for goalkeepers as also topping our rankings is Nick Pope, who was vital in Burnley's 2-1 comeback victory at home to Leicester. With the Clarets struggling to find the back of the net recently, it looked like it would be another long afternoon when Leicester took the lead, only for them to eventually fight back to earn all three points.

Pope's main contribution to proceedings was a second-half penalty save to deny Jamie Vardy from giving the visitors the lead again. That was one of seven saves he made throughout the 90 minutes.

Sergio Agüero
S (C) - Man City - 31 yrs
Jan 18, 2020

If not for the goals of Sergio Aguero, Manchester City would be even further behind Liverpool in the Premier League, and he was once again their goalscoring saviour in the disappointing drew 2-2 with Crystal Palace. The Argentine scored two on the day, within the space of five minutes, as he equalised in the 82nd minute with a close range finish and then glanced a header into the bottom corner three minutes from time.

The celebrations suggested City thought they had won it, but Palace would score again through a Fernandinho own-goal. Aguero had 17 touches inside the opposition box which was more than anyone in the league this weekend.

Adama Traoré
AM, W (R) - Wolves - 23 yrs
Jan 18, 2020

Adama Traore's excellent recent form continued as he recorded two assists in the game of the weekend - Wolves' 3-2 win away at rejuvenated Southampton. The hosts actually took a 2-0 lead before half-time, but were pegged back and then overrun by Wolves in the second half as they scored three to turn the scoreline around.

Traore was involved in the first and third goals which came via two typically powerful signature runs down the right. For the first, he whipped a cross in for Pedro Neto, while for the third he displayed an unselfish nature to pick out Raul Jimenez while in a good position himself. He completed more dribbles than anyone in this round of fixtures, with eight.

Virgil van Dijk
D (C) - Liverpool - 28 yrs
Jan 19, 2020

Man Utd actually started the game against Liverpool on the front foot, with the attacking players of the Anfield side struggling to make an impact early on.

However, they could rely on Virgil van Dijk to take advantage of the league's worst defence at dealing with set-pieces, as he bulleted a header in from a corner kick with 14 minutes on the clock. It was an altogether dominating performance from the Dutchman, as he won the majority of his duels and aerial duels as well as making 11 ball recoveries, two interceptions, and eight clearances.


Along with Aguero, Benjamin Mendy (8.2) was one of City's better performers in the draw with Crystal Palace. He could be found bombing up and down that left wing the whole game, and assisted what he thought was the winning goal for his team-mate with a curled cross from the left.


Billy Sharp (5) was brought on in the second half for Sheffield United versus Arsenal, but completely failed to make an impact. Not only did he not muster up a shot on goal, he failed to complete a single pass in 35 minutes.

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