Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp celebrated “the icing on the cake” after he and Virgil van Dijk won the Premier League’s monthly awards for a flawless December.
The league-leading Reds won seven games from seven for the month by an aggregate scoreline of 22-3 as they swept aside all before them, including tricky-looking fixtures against Everton, Manchester United and Arsenal.
Their strong run of results led to a seven-point advantage over champions Manchester City at the end of the calendar year.
City subsequently began 2019 by beating Liverpool to trim that lead, but Manager of the Month Klopp was still able to reflect on a superb month as he collected his award on Friday.
“It’s nice, the icing on the cake,” he said. “It was a very successful but difficult month.
“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.”
Proud to be named @premierleague POTM December! Thanks to all my teammates, staff and fans! pic.twitter.com/6vWcMqS8aP
— Virgil van Dijk (@VirgilvDijk) January 11, 2019
Van Dijk took the Player of the Month honours and had been the subject of praise from his manager earlier in the day ahead of the trip to Brighton and Hove Albion.
“Virgil has outstanding potential,” Klopp told a news conference. “He is a fantastic person, he is physically strong and he has all the technical things you need.
“There are so many things that are already good and many things he can also improve. I don’t have to judge him now and compare him to other players in the past.”
Liverpool will look to maintain their four-point lead at the top of the table when they visit Brighton on Saturday afternoon as they look to bounce back from successive defeats for the first time this season, bowing out of the FA Cup against Wolves after their Premier League loss against City.