With the festive and New Year period over, BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks is back with his latest Premier League team of the week.
The table has a familiar look after the hectic fixture schedule with Liverpool continuing to lead the way with a 13-point lead, and with a game in hand on their rivals.
That’s after their latest win which came over Sheffield United on Thursday night, and defensive duo Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk lead the way in Crooks’ XI after putting in another solid shift at the back for the Reds.
Crooks was full of praise for the pair and rightly so, describing Gomez as ‘looking tremendous’ while noting that his central-defensive partner made more clearances and interceptions than any other Liverpool player, as per his BBC Sport column.
It was a fifth straight clean sheet for the Merseyside giants in the Premier League, while they’ve conceded just 14 goals in 20 games, giving them the best defensive record in the top flight.
Kepa Arrizabalaga gets the nod in between the posts after an important display for Chelsea against Brighton, while David Luiz completes a back-three after his key role in Arsenal’s win over Man Utd.
Abdoulaye Doucoure, Mark Noble, James Maddison and Jack Grealish make up the midfield, with the latter pair scoring great goals for Leicester City and Aston Villa respectively as they continue to impress and lead the way in securing vital results.
Noble is as influential as ever in the heart of the West Ham midfield as David Moyes made a winning start on his return while he chipped in with goals too, while Doucoure was picked out by Crooks after his game-changing performance in the pivotal win over Wolves.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Danny Ings and Gabriel Jesus complete the line-up in a front three for Crooks, and it’s no surprise given all three were on the scoresheet last time out.
It’s a criticism directed at Crooks most weeks that he often does select players who have scored goals, and perhaps haven’t done enough beyond that to warrant being included in his XI.
That said, there are arguments to be made in favour of this trio as they were all key in positive results for their sides.
Such is the nature of this feature, it’s never going to get universal approval from readers. However, Crooks has done a relatively decent job of picking out the star performers in midweek, and it will come as no surprise that Liverpool are represented again as they continue their relentless march towards the Premier League title this season.
Crooks’ Premier League team of the week: Kepa; Gomez, Luiz, Van Dijk; Doucoure, Noble, Maddison, Grealish; Jahanbakhsh, Ings, Jesus.