England may not have a winter break like the Bundesliga and Eredivisie, but Boxing Day marks the halfway stage of the Premier League season.

Liverpool currently lead the way at the top of the table, still unbeaten having faced every side while defending champions Manchester City have slipped to third.

Tottenham Hotspur have leapfrogged the Citizens into second and have been growing impressively since the start of the season, while Chelsea and Arsenal – both under new managers – are fourth and fifth respectively.

Manchester United, who finished second last season, have struggled to keep their form down in sixth with Jose Mourinho sacked shortly before Christmas.

Having looked at those who have been in fine form in the opening half of the 2018/19 campaign, here is out Premier League team of the half-season.

We have limited ourselves to only picking a maximum of three players from one club to prevent a combined XI of the top two.

Goalkeeper: Alisson

Club: Liverpool

Games played (starts): 19 (19)

What a signing Alisson as proven to be for Liverpool. Brought in during the summer to replace Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet, the Brazilian has made Liverpool’s goal his own.

Confident with the ball at his feet and with amazing reflexes, Alisson is one of the reasons Liverpool are where they are right now. The Brazilian has only been beaten seven times this season, with Liverpool conceding the joint-lowest amount of goals for any team at this stage.

There have been some minor blips, against Leicester City and Manchester United, but neither have been costly and his benefits far outweigh the risks.

Key stat: Alisson kept more clean sheets than any other goalkeeper in the first half of the Premier League season.

Honourable mentions: Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea), Ederson (Manchester City)

Right-back: Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Club: Crystal Palace

Games played (starts): 18 (18)

Crystal Palace may not have had the best first half of the season – a 3-2 win over Man City aside – but one Eagle who has been phenomenal is Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

The 21-year-old is only in his second Premier League campaign but is already been tipped with a big move away from Selhurst Park, and it’s not hard to see why.

Against the so-called ‘big six’ this season, Wan-Bissaka has lost just three of his 26 attempted tackles, giving some of the best wingers in the league a run for their money.

Key stat: Aaron Wan-Bissaka won more tackles than any other player in the first half of the Premier League season.

Honourable mentions: Matt Doherty (Wolves), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Centre-back: Virgil van Dijk

Club: Liverpool

Games played (starts): 19 (19)

Just like Alisson, Virgil van Dijk has been immense at the back for Liverpool this season. After a promising start since joining in January, the Dutch centre-back continues to go from strength to strength at the heart of Liverpool’s defence.

Commanding in the air and cool on the ball, Van Dijk’s presence for Liverpool will give opposition forwards nightmares at the prospect of facing him. Some of the best in the league have already failed to get the better of the Dutchman, being made to look completely out of depth.

Key stat: Virgil van Dijk won more aerial duels than any other Liverpool player in the first half of the Premier League season.

Honourable mentions: Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea)

Centre-back: Aymeric Laporte

Club: Manchester City

Games played (starts): 18 (17)

Another January signing coming into his own this season, Aymeric Laporte has been a big part of Manchester City’s defence so far.

The Frenchman’s composure on the ball is vital for City’s style of play, in that he is able to start off attacking moves from deep and keep Pep Guardiola’s side in control of matches.

Remarkably, it took Laporte 24 games to taste defeat in the Premier League, while also drawing just two games in his unbeaten run.

Key stat: Aymeric Laporte completed more passes than any other player in the first half of the Premier League season.

Honourable mentions: Joe Gomez (Liverpool)

Left-back: Lucas Digne

Club: Everton

Games played (starts): 16 (15)

Lucas Digne has been quietly getting on with life at Goodison Park since joining from Barcelona in the summer, but his performances have been improving with every passing week.

The Frenchman has eased Leighton Baines out of the team, ensuring the 34-year-old is not missed, even replacing him for his free-kick goals – netting against Watford and Burnley.

Digne is still some way off reaching his peak, but the left-back is on the right path at Everton.

Key stat: Lucas Digne created more chances than any other defender in the first half of the Premier League season.

Honourable mentions: Andrew Robertson (Liverpool), Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City), Jose Holebas (Watford)

Central midfielder: Lucas Torreira

Club: Arsenal

Games played (starts): 18 (12)

Unai Emery baffled Arsenal fans when he decided to ease Lucas Torreira into his side, despite the Gunners losing their opening two games.

But it seems to have worked, with the Uruguayan now considered one of the signings of the summer. At the base of Arsenal’s midfield, Torreira seems to lift those around him and his passing and defensive abilities contributing to Arsenal’s 22-game unbeaten run across all competitions.

To make matters even more ridiculous, Torreira is still only 22.

Key stat: Lucas Torreira won more fouls than any other Arsenal player in the first half of the Premier League season.

Honourable mentions: Fernandinho (Man City), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool), Etienne Capoue (Watford)

Central midfielder: Christian Eriksen

Club: Tottenham

Games played (starts): 16 (11)

The proof of Christian Eriksen’s influence and ability is in the pudding, in that very few midfielders can rival him when it comes to end product.

He started slowly, but only Ryan Fraser has assisted more goals (8) from midfield than Tottenham’s Danish playmaker (7), and the Bournemouth rising star has started seven games more.

Perhaps no Spurs player, bar Son Heung-min perhaps, has been more influential over the past three league games than Eriksen. Those three games have propelled the north London club well into the title race, and Eriksen has scored in all three. This includes a stoppage-time winner v Burnley and the opener that set up the 5-0 thrashing of Bournemouth that took Spurs above Manchester City.

Key stat: Christian Eriksen is on average directly involved in more goals than per 90 minutes than any other Premier League midfielder this season so far (0.84).

Honourable mentions: Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth), Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford),  Mousa Sissoko (Spurs)

Right-winger: Raheem Sterling

Club: Manchester City

Games played (starts): 15 (14)

Raheem Sterling may not have had the best World Cup, in terms of goals and assists, but the Englishman is more than making his mark on the Premier League this season.

The 24-year-old has been phenomenal again at the start of the 2018/19 campaign, hurting defences with his pace, dribbling ability and finishing as part of Guardiola’s expansive attacking side.

Sterling is on another level to the Premier League’s other wingers and City will need him to continue at his current rate if they are to retain the title this season.

Key stat: Raheem Sterling scored more Premier League goals than any other Manchester City player in the first half of the season.

Honourable mentions: Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth), Son Heung-min (Tottenham)

Left-winger: Eden Hazard

Club: Chelsea

Games played (starts): 17 (14)

In the summer, Eden Hazard looked to be on his way at of Chelsea but the Belgian decided to stay put with the arrival of Maurizio Sarri.

And Chelsea have been reaping the rewards with Hazard enjoying his best start to season since joining the Blues in 2018.

Having raced ahead of his peers to score seven goals in his first eight games – starting six – Hazard has added nine assists and another strike showing his use to Sarri as both a left-winger and false nine.

Key stat: Eden Hazard created the most chances in the first half of the 2018/19 Premier League season.

Honourable mentions: Leroy Sane (Man City), Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

Centre-forward: Mohamed Salah

Club: Liverpool

Games played (starts): 18 (17)

Mohamed Salah set the Premier League on fire last season, finishing as the competition’s top-scorer. Despite the scrutiny this created, he has continued that form into the current campaign.

There were suggestions the Egyptian would turn out to be a one-season wonder after a slow start in which he adapted to becoming Liverpool’s most central forward. But Salah has stormed to 12 Premier League goals already, in addition to six assists.

In his new role, Salah causes the opposition more danger with his pace and clinical finishing, while also standing as Liverpool’s first line of defence.

Key stat: Mohamed Salah won possession in the attacking third more times than any other player in the first half of the Premier League season.

Honourable mentions: Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Centre-forward: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Club: Arsenal

Games played (starts): 18 (16)

Arsenal have started life post-Arsene Wenger fairly well. Currently, they are just outside the top four, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang needs to take a big chunk of credit for that.

The Gabonese forward has been exceptional since joining Arsenal in January and has led the line well under Unai Emery, quickly understanding the Spaniard’s gameplan and his team-mates’ playing styles.

Finishing the first half of the Premier League season as top scorer, Aubameyang has scored a brace in four games so far including two in Arsenal’s 4-2 North London Derby win over Tottenham in December.

Key stat: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored more goals than any other player in the first half of the Premier League season.

Honourable mentions: Callum Wilson (Bournemouth), Glenn Murray (Brighton)

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