SPORT: Football
Liverpool defender Joel Matip becomes the first Cameroonian to win the Premier League Player of the Month award.

Liv­er­pool’s Joel Matip was named Pre­mier League Play­er of the Month in Feb­ru­ary, while Eddie Howe won Man­ag­er of the Month.

Matip becomes the first Cameroon­ian to win the award, which was rich­ly deserved after a stel­lar month in which he played every minute of Pre­mier League football.

He and his cen­tre-back part­ner Vir­gil van Dijk were in impe­ri­ous form, con­ced­ing just one goal in four match­es and keep­ing three clean sheets.

Liv­er­pool reignit­ed the title race in Feb­ru­ary with four wins that saw them close the gap on league lead­ers Man­ches­ter City to six points with the Reds one game less.

But Matip stood out for more than his defen­sive qual­i­ties and showed what he is capa­ble of high­er up the pitch.

He caught the eye for two bril­liant pieces of for­ward play, first pro­duc­ing an assist for Dio­go Jota in Liv­er­pool’s 2–0 win over Leicester.

Matip then over­came that with a superb solo goal in the Reds’ 6–0 thrash­ing of Leeds. The 30-year-old made a blis­ter­ing run into the oppo­si­tion’s penal­ty area before pro­duc­ing a sub­lime chipped fin­ish on goal­keep­er Illan Meslier.

Along­side Matip, New­cas­tle boss Eddie Howe was named Man­ag­er of the Month after an unbeat­en February.

Under Howe’s watch, the Mag­pies left the rel­e­ga­tion zone for the first time since Sep­tem­ber and cur­rent­ly sit 14th in the league.

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