LIVERPOOL centre-back Virgil van Dijk has become the first defender to win the Premier League Play of The Month since 2013. Van Dijk made seven appearances for Liverpool in December, captaining the side on three occasions. Liverpool won all seven games as
Not only did Van Dijk receive an award, Anfield boss Jurgen Klopp scooped the Manager of the Month.
Klopp said: "It's nice, the icing on the cake, it was a very successful but difficult month.
Most Read in Premier League
Mum gives birth to dying baby so she could donate her organs to save others
CON OFF IT
Tycoon who pocketed £500k in £3m home raffle says fee's 'just over minimum wage'
Mum shares photo of her holding her intestines after C-section scar SPLITS in shower
DECAPITATED AT BIRTH
Nurse pulled baby's head off during birth leaving it inside mum's womb
'Bright' boy, 14, 'excluded from school for social posts' wks before knife death
Tragic dad told wife to 'put phone down' before stepping out in front of traffic
Universal Credit claimants in for £250m extra as two-kid limit to be scrapped
How to spot new speed cameras made to catch you using mobile, eating or SMOKING
"Each game felt like the most important one of the season. It was unbelievable. The intensity was massive but that's what made it a special month.
"With the group I have here, if you can mix up the potential of the group with the best attitude you can get, you get quality. That's what we did in December."
Van Dijk’s performances in December means he becomes the first defender since Jan Vertonghen in 2013 to pick up the Player of The Month award.
Vertonghen picked up the accolade in March 2013, although Tottenham only won two of the four games they played when the Belgian picked up the honour.
Tottenham would finish the season in sixth place as Vertonghen only missed four games in the league campaign.
Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk can be the best defender of the Premier League era
Tell us what you think about this story.
Virgil van Dijk becomes first defender since 2013 to win Player of the Month
Too far fetched for words? Not a bit of it, Unai Emery admitted as much yesterday, albeit without spitting his dummy.
When Kroenke paid £600m to buy out Alisher Usmanov and become sole owner, it didn’t all come from his own pocket.
Very little of it did, in fact. All but £50m came from a bridging loan, and he hasn’t stumped up any of his own dough for new signings.
Indeed, the Gunners spend only money generated from their own revenue, claiming they want to do in a way which respects the club’s history, values and traditions.
All very virtuous. But when you consider a lack of Champions League football has cost around £35m in each of the two years they’ve been out, in a total drop of around £40m in matchday, broadcast and commercial revenue, it doesn’t leave much.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery explains this issues of signing Barcelona's Denis Suarez
In fact apparently, it doesn’t leave a bean. Not even a chance to sign Denis Suarez on loan as they won’t agree to Barcelona demanding a £20m commitment to buy in the summer.
The idea of speculating to accumulate clearly causes Kroenke to come out in a cold sweat, but that’s the truth of it.
Unless you’re a Man City, needing just one player, a Riyad Mahrez, a little tweak to what’s already in place, then you’re always going to be behind the eight ball.
Liverpool realised it, spending fortunes on the likes of Alisson, Virgil Van Dijk and Fabinho.
United, for all they toiled under Jose Mourinho, knew they’d have to splash big dough to get back to anywhere near their former glories.
Yet Kroenke doesn’t see it like that, he wants the glory, the kudos of owning one of the game’s elite clubs without paying too much of his own cash for the privilege.
Like a footballing version of the Little Red Hen.
No wonder Gunners fans have accused him of killing the club.
Yes, there will be more money available in the summer, when new sponsorship deals with Adidas and Emirates kick in.
But unless Kroenke finally puts his hand in his pocket to throw in a few quid of his own – and there’s no sign of it, to be honest – they’ll be backing a Europa League club at best.
Thank Heavens no-one’s seriously threatening to do a Leicester or Burnley of last season, or even that might be beyond them.
It’s match week 22 of the Premier League as Tottenham welcome Manchester United and West Ham take on Arsenal
It seems remarkable to think Cardiff are out of the bottom three despite leading for a total of 93 minutes this season. Neil Warnock would happily settle for another injury-time winner here as Cardiff host Huddersfield in a proper relegation scrap. Huddersfield have lost eight league games in a row and are eight points adrift of safety, making this a must-win game for them. Cardiff have enjoyed plenty of home comforts this season but their last two games in front of their own supporters were both heavy defeats. Stuart James