Premier League Team of the Week: Liverpool Steal the Show, Hazard Dominates
Welcome to the latest edition of our Premier League Team of the Week!
We've picked the cream of the crop in terms of performances after an action-packed slate full of shocks and goals aplenty; our selection looks rather...Red, but who could blame us? No one saw a rout coming at Anfield.
Don't agree with our choices? Post your XI in the comments below. Ours is constructed in an attack-happy 4-2-2-2.
GK: Maarten Stekelenburg, Fulham
Maarten Stekelenburg put on an astounding show as Fulham held Manchester United to a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford this weekend.
The Red Devils racked up a series of astonishing statistics as they pounded the Cottagers' goal, but not even 81 crosses was enough to find a third and critical goal.
The Dutchman has been largely fantastic since returning from injury.
RB: Jon Flanagan, Liverpool
I hope you're ready for a very, very Liverpool-themed Premier League Team of the Week.
We start with Jon Flanagan, who's now the Reds' first-choice right-back following Glen Johnson's descent into terribleness.
"Flani Alves," as the locals have affectionately nicknamed him, kept Arsenals assortment of world-class attackers at bay and distributed very well out of the defensive third.
CB: James Tomkins, West Ham United
James Tomkins led West Ham United to a third consecutive clean sheet in beating Aston Villa 2-0 at Villa Park.
He stood firm in the centre as a second-half onslaught ensued, and while the Hammers rode their luck—via the woodwork—at times, Tomkins should be lauded for his showing.
Christian Benteke is in form, but he was dealt with easily.
CB: Martin Skrtel, Liverpool
Martin Skrtel scored two goals inside 10 minutes to gift-wrap Liverpool a heavy win over Arsenal on Saturday.
He netted inside the opening 70 seconds from a stunning Steven Gerrard delivery, then turned home an outrageous header from a corner to effectively seal the win early on.
He helped keep Olivier Giroud quiet in the defensive phase and looked monstrous in every area.
LB: Martin Olsson, Norwich City
Norwich City kept a clean sheet against Manchester City on Saturday. Be honest: Who had that on their coupon?
Now that we've established none of you did, we can move on to the star performers in an unlikely result. Alex Tettey misses out on our Team of the Week narrowly, but flying left-back Martin Olsson makes the cut.
The Swede was tremendous throughout.
CM: Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool
Philippe Coutinho looks to be settling into his new, deeper role very nicely.
He's always been a pure, between-the-lines No. 10, but Brendan Rodgers has tried him in several roles over the last 12 months. He's great off the left, but perhaps this flatter, more traditional position suits his scything ball-playing skills the best.
His early releases out of the defensive third killed Arsenal's defensive line.
CM: Nemanja Matic, Chelsea
Nemanja Matic continued his beast-like (re)start to life at Chelsea by turning in a top-notch performance against Newcastle United.
He's living up to his billing early on.
Wing: Raheem Sterling, Liverpool
Raheem Sterling tore Arsenal to shreds on Saturday afternoon, and his performances over the past two months will have grabbed the attention of Roy Hodgson.
He's a natural right-sider capable of emultating Theo Walcott's style and speed, so if the England boss is looking for a replacement, he really shouldn't be looking any further.
Sterling will need to keep it up, though.
Wing: Eden Hazard, Chelsea
I write about Eden Hazard every week, he's atop B/R's Premier League player power rankings and he's in our selection most of the time.
Yet still he continues to improve, and his hat-trick against Newcastle United—his first in England—was a sublime display of talent, agility, technique and composure.
He and Luis Suarez will duel till the very, very end to see who's best.
ST: Luis Suarez, Liverpool
Luis Suarez might not have scored against Arsenal, but he could barely have come closer after striking the post with a volley and sending a free-kick toward the top corner.
His overall game was expertly selfless, working the right flank to make the most of the space behind Nacho Monreal and finding Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling with a succession of early balls from the channel.
ST: Rickie Lambert, Southampton
Enough with the Liverpool players! The win was glorious, but we changed the channel right at the end and tipped Rickie Lambert over Daniel Sturridge up front.
The Englishman has suddenly found form, now that Daniel Osvaldo isn't blocking his path to stardom, and had a direct hand in both Saints' goals on Saturday.
His free-kick was incredible.
GK: Hugo Lloris, Tottenhm Hotspur
RB/CB: Branislav Ivanovic, Chelsea
DM: Alex Tettey, Norwich City
DM: Gareth Barry, Everton
CM: Jordan Henderson, Liverpool
Wing: Marc Albrighton, Aston Villa
ST: Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool
Manager: Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool
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