When Liverpool gathered for the official end of season awards, Philippe Coutinho ran away with all the shiny baubles. Player of the season, goal of the season, pug of the season—he won pretty much everything he could. A few days later, at Liverpool’s final home game of the campaign, he was given the Golden Samba as the club’s best player by a group of fans who hand out the shiny golden shoe each season.
As far as Liverpool Offside readers were concerned, though, he wasn’t the club’s best player last season. In fact, in match to match and month to month voting, Coutinho was third best at best, and it’s two other players who are the real contenders to be called Liverpool’s best in 2015-16. Those two players are attacker Roberto Firmino and defender Nathaniel Clyne. One of whom started stronger and the other who finished better.
After a rough start under Brendan Rodgers, Firmino rounded into form under Jürgen Klopp, and he played so well in the second half of the season that he earned the most Player of the Month votes from Liverpool Offside readers. He was also the only player to be named Player of the Month twice, in January and February. He then finished second to Coutinho in March, part of a three-month run of excellence for the Firmino.
Clyne, on the other hand, started stronger. He got his one Player of the Month nod in August while the season was still fresh. He was remarkably consistent, too, finishing second once in the spring and placing in six of ten Player of the Month votes—Firmino came next, placing five times overall, and Coutinho finished in the top five of monthly voting on four occasions, speaking to a very solid year for the Brazilian playmaker.
Handing out five points for being named Player of the Month through to one for placing fifth in voting, Firmino leads the way with 19 points and Clyne is snapping at his heels with 18. Coutinho’s 14 puts him a respectable third in month-to-month voting, ahead of Lucas Leiva (13), Joe Allen (10), Dejan Lovren, Divock Origi, and Mamadou Sakho (9), and Kolo Toure (8). Of note, Allen was never named Player of the Month.
All the other finalists, though, earned it at least once: Clyne (August), Sakho (October), Lucas (November), Lovren (December), Firmino (January and February), Coutinho (March), Origi (April), Toure (May). Danny Ings was named Player of the Month for September but his subsequent injury meant it was the only time he placed. Now, though, final honours and Liverpool’s Player of the Season will be decided by you.
Should Firmino’s two Player of the Month awards and his being the top vote-getter earn him the honours in his first season in the Premier League? Or will Clyne’s consistency earn the right back the award? Can Philippe Coutinho perhaps pull off what would have to be an upset based on weekly and monthly voting and earn The Liverpool Offside’s award along with all his others? Cast your vote.