Liverpool player of the month - October

Who was Liverpool's October player of the month?

There's only oneeeee, Simon Mignolet! Okay he can't win it every month. Not because he doesn't deserve to but because it will start to make us look biased and could run the risk of damaging team moral for our other players. Who as we know, are avid readers of The Liver Bird Nest. So without further ado, I shall mention some of the players most likely to be in with a shout this month. This is only my take of course and your views may differ.

Adam Lalla, just kidding. Let's start from the back - Alisson Becker.

What can you say, thanks to our next few candidates he's not really had a lot to do between the sticks this October but he's done enough to tell us he's the goalie we've been seeking for quite some time. Pepe Reina left our Club in 2013 and the last part of that number did indeed prove to be unlucky for us because it then took five whole years to find a suitable replacement.

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From what we've seen so far, Alisson is confident, you have to be to start dribbling the ball around in your own area in sheer defiance of the opposition. Additionally he's strong in both physical stature and character, which sees him command an amount of respect from other players - our own and the oppo's alike. It also means he controls his area of the pitch and brings an amount of calmness to it, where Karius before him only brought chaos and flap-ability.

So Alisson has many of the attributes a great keeper must have, add to them the fact he's pulled off some very good saves and looks to be able to do so reliably and consistently, as well as the fact he's more than comfortable with the ball at his feet - something which is vital for our wish to mostly play out from the back, and then stick a 'he's also extremely good at distribution' cherry on top, and bingo! You have yourselves a damn fine goal keeper. Good enough for player of the month? The Ballon d'Or nomination panel seems to think so but perhaps our next candidate could pip him at his post.

Not far from Alisson we find ourselves Dutchmen number one: Virgil Van Dijk.

Virgil has continued to impress throughout October just as he did the month before that and the one before that and the... This guy is so good that you just get used to it being normal for him. I think it is and perhaps out of all our players he is the closest to being genuinely world class. He's already captained his country and played a part in them keeping clean sheets, as well as chipping in with a few goals and hopefully before long, he will have helped Liverpool win some silverware.

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Already though Virgil is helping us hugely in every game he plays. Sharing the exact same calmness, confidence and leadership traits which Alisson does, Virgil has totally changed our defence for the better. He too is more than comfortable with the ball at his feet and not just in defence but he also plays a large role in our overall build up play, short or long passes - both are something he does with aplomb. Aerially he's sublime, a nightmare for the opposition trying to score against us with him marking them and at the other end where they have an equally tough job on their hands in marking him, every time we're awarded a corner. Surely it's just a matter of time before he starts scoring regular goals for us and being a goal threat from corners is something we've lacked for a while.

Two Liverpool fans show their home made Virgil Van Dijk is a colossus banner

So, Virgil has transformed our defence into one of the best in the League and is also helping out in attack for good measure and I'll finish his appraisal by letting Troy Deeney share his thoughts on what it's like to play against him:

"I've said it many times, I hate him,"  "I hate going up against him." "He’s too big, too strong, too quick, too good on the ball, loves fighting, a good head of hair."


Next up we stay in defence and for the second month in succession, we consider young Joe Gomez.

Similarly to Virgil, Joe has continued his excellent form. At just 21 years of age, young he may be but looking at his performances you'd never know it. Thrown in at the deep end this season he's more than met the challenge of playing both centre back and right back. So well in fact that many now believe he should be Virgil's main central defensive partner.

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Consider this - in just 9 EPL games he's made 15 tackles, 12 interceptions, 24 clearances, won 42 duels, made zero errors which led to a goal and helped us on to 7 victories, with 5 clean sheets. That's pretty blooming good. Ultimately though I feel he's going to be edged out of top spot this month, possibly by one of his fellow defenders. Either the aforementioned Virgil Van Dijk or our next candidate...

Andy Robertson, or The Messiah as Jock likes to call him.

Robo is also pretty blooming good. Actually let's be honest, he's ruddy amazing. His counterpart, Trent Alexander-Arnold, on the opposite side of defence gets a quick mention here as he's been superb for us as well but during this last month he's made one or two errors which means Robertson bests him this time around.

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Robertson, or Robertoson as I like to call him, just goes from strength to strength and he must be approaching the title of colossus as well. His defending is near impeccable and his attacking play is growing ever closer to being the same. Yes those are big superlatives but I think he merits them. We genuinely now have one of the best left backs in the world and that is a massive problem for our opponents because Robertson absolutely terrorises them. Not just in patches but his superhuman Duracell Bunny-esque engine means he's relentless and if he's not hounding you the length of the pitch for the ball, he's belting passed you with it to stick it into your area. Even that he does with the sort of accuracy we've not seen in ages and which Moreno can only dream of. Top stuff and the fact he's only 24, hints at a truly world class player in the making.

A brief mention now of another player who has done well but not quite made the cut - Dejan Lovren. He's not had that much game time this month but to be fair he has played pretty well when called upon. Perhaps some of us feared he would unsettle our vastly improved defence but this has turned out not to be the case, in fact he's fitted back in seamlessly and that is very encouraging.

Moving up the pitch once more, we have Dutchmen number two: Georginio Wijnaldum.

Before we consider Gini though, I'd like to send Timpo our best wishes. Worryingly he's not posted for a while now. I have emailed him but no reply as yet. He did tell me a while ago that this is a busy time of year for his work and hopefully that's all it is but it's unusual for him not to at least nip on for the matches. Let's keep our fingers crossed that all is well for him and family and on that note, I'd like to extend that sentiment to all in our community, both current and past posters alike.

So, Winjinio - wow, talk about zero to hero. Many were already a fan but many others, myself included, have at times been distinctly underwhelmed with what he brought to the table. Was that in part due to ignorance? Speaking for myself only, yes, I hold my hands up to undervaluing his worth. I see more and more now that he plays a vital role in our midfield. He does the donkey work of keeping and recycling the ball and he does it very well indeed.

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As we appear to have recently changed our formation a little, Gini's role seems to have become more clearly defined and perhaps even more important. Sitting in behind a more attacking midfield three, it's vital that he, as part of a pair, provides a steady platform which links our defence and attack and helps us start attacking play. Alongside that duty he must also be doggedly nipping at the heels of the opposing players, cutting their own attacks down in their stride and flipping things back to an attack of our own. All of this he does extremely well, in fact he rarely, if ever seems to make an error and that is exactly what we need as it builds confidence in both the defence behind and attack in front. Really you could view Gini and also possibly now Fabinho as the heart of our team and that is perhaps a fairer way of viewing them in relation to the often times thankless roles they perform.

If Gini can now start to contribute just a little more to the attacks themselves then we may have us yet another worldie in the making. You have to take into account the fact his role calls for a high amount of discipline though, so he's not going to be getting into advanced positions on a regular basis but that is a good thing and just means he's doing his job.

Talking of Fabinho just now, he definitely gets an honourable mention because his performance against Red Star was incredible.

He completed successful tackle after successful tackle in that match and every single one made whilst staying on his feet - vitally important in the modern game where fouls are much more readily given, especially in Europe. Not only that but if you've stayed on your feet, it means you've likely not just won the tackle but also now have possession, which is much better than being left sliding along the pitch on your backside. Fabinho also looks to have a keen eye for a pass and the skill to make those successfully as well. A very promising player and we'd have to go all the way back to Mascherano to find what will hopefully prove to be a valid comparison.

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For my money Fabinho hasn't played enough minutes this month to be in the running here but if he can carry on in the same mould as Javier, then I don't think I'm over egging things to say we could add another player to that burgeoning worldie's list.

Finishing at the pointy end of the pitch, I think most fans would agree that our attackers have still not quite found their best form. Sturridge has played well and pleasingly remained injury free but as with Fabinho, I don't think he's had enough game time to take top spot in this month's poll. Ditto Mo, Mane and Bobby, well they have had the minutes but haven't impressed as much as we'd hoped. The last few games though have shown encouraging signs that they're heading in the right direction.

One of our attacking players who has impressed is Xherdan Shaqiri, or Peter, as Ilija likes to call him.

But what are his primary stats I hear you ask. Well like Fabinho, he also hasn't played a whole lot - just 215 minutes in 6 games but we won 5 of those games in no small part thanks to Xherdan's attacking play, which saw him contribute 1 goal and 2 assists.

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Shaqiri has had to hit the ground running and he's absolutely done just that. He looks totally at home in the team and has shone when his attacking partners have not helped him to do so. I feel that we'll see much more of Shaqiri now as Jurgen appears to be setting us up in a 4-2-3-1 system and as such we're going to utilise an extra attacking midfielder. That in turn will hopefully help us break down the buses we now face on a weekly basis and from what I've seen this month, I've every confidence that Xherdan is the perfect man for that additional attacking spot. Actually I'm chuffed as I was concerned he may be wasted on bench duties when he has a lot to offer our first eleven. For the measly sum of just thirteen million pounds, what a great signing he could prove to be.

Regards the month as a whole, we've still not quite found top gear but we seem to be getting ever closer and being that we're already joint top of the League with lots of room for anticipated improvement - here is a little message for the rest of the League: be afraid, be very afraid ;-)

Okay all, lets vote, and this month I don't want any one to feel I've tried to lace this article with subliminal messages to sway you toward following my suggestion that we all vote Simon Mignolet. I think I've outlined a fair case for all of the main candidates but you must choose who you feel is best and if you'd like to post your reasoning why, then that would be dandy.

Simon Mignolet leaning against rail overlooking the beach

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