Every month a panel of our picture editors and photographers select the very best sport pictures from our European office.

Peak action, the big stories and beautiful photography come together in our top 10. Here our January's best images, with the inside track from the photographers that took them.

Enjoy, vote and share your favourite in our online poll at the bottom of this page

 

Laurence Griffiths

Follow Laurence on Twitter @LolGriffiths

Laurence’s picture shows Liverpool players celebrating after Daniel Sturridge’s goal to make it 3-0 during their Barclays premier League match against Everton

"The Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton is always an intense affair and I’d been looking forward to covering it. I got to Anfield early to get a spot in front of the Everton fans where I knew the atmosphere would be best. Positions were tight as both teams are having a good season and I expected a cagey close match. That didn’t happen. The Reds blew the Blues away with 3 first half goals in at the end of the pitch I was sat and to make things better Liverpool players took the chance to celebrate right in front of their local rival’s fans... right where I was sitting.

Celebrations like this don’t happen very often. Dean Sturridge had just scored and as he was being mobbed by team mates, Martin Skrtel somehow clambered onto Luis Suarez’s back to complete the picture. Liverpool went on to win 4-0 and I’m pleased to get a picture that shows Liverpool’s dominance on the night."

 

Alex Grimm

Sabine Kehm issuing a statement on Michael Schumacher’s condition outside Grenoble University Hospital.

"After F1 legend Michael Schumacher had a serious accident when on a skiing holiday I was sent to the hospital in Grenoble to cover the story. I joined the waiting press in the cold waiting for news. A huge number of camera men, photographers and journalists crowded around Michael's press officer Sabine Kehm when she came out to give a statement.

I placed my camera with a superwide 14mm lens on a monopod and held it above the crowd, firing it with a remote trigger to try and give a symmetrical image of the chaos.

I really prefer seeing Schumi driving F1 cars than knowing he’s in intensive care. I hope this image shows how much the world cares.

Keep on fighting Michael."

 

Gareth Copley

Follow Gareth on Twitter @garethcopley

England cricketer Michael Carberry breaking his bat in the 5th Ashes Test against Australia in Sydney.

"The most common question you get asked as a cricket photographer is "Do you shoot every ball?"

The answer is no. As a veteran cricket photographer you learn to watch the player’s feet, hands and eyes. Then you gain a sixth sense of when a batsman is going to a play a scoring shot or get bowled out. So you really try not to take pictures of boring defensive prods back down the pitch as it wastes lots of time deleting the pictures!

I don't know what I was thinking when I dropped the shutter as Michael Carberry played a boring forward defensive shot, I shouldn't have taken the frame really. I couldn't believe it when his bat broke, neither could the photographer sat next to me who was obeying the 'don't take a picture every ball' rule!

It's quite different from most cricket pictures as cricket bats rarely break that spectacularly and you would hardly ever get the ball in the picture. The picture was taken on the last day of the Ashes series which England lost 5-0 to Australia, it sort of sums up England's luck in the series, even their bats don't work.

I don't think I'll take another picture like it, but maybe if I shot every ball I would have a better chance."

 

Mike Hewitt

Chelsea’s Samuel Etoo scoring his hat-trick goal against Manchester United in the Barclays Premier League.

"Football is all about positioning, it doesn’t matter how much thought you put into predicting the result the best pictures can happen anywhere on the pitch. Like most football photographers I like to sit behind the goal line as it’s the best angle to photograph the goals from. Unfortunately at Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea that isn’t possible due to the tightness of the stands to the pitch. We have to sit down the side where you can often be blocked by players and linesman when the big moments happen. To give myself a better chance I placed a wide angle remote behind the goal which can also be very hit and miss. You need someone to score from very close in to really make a picture.

Chelsea v Manchester United is always a big game. Chelsea striker Samuel Etoo scored a hat trick and his third goal made really well on my remote. It has all the ingredients for a good picture, he’s close in, the ball is nice and big in the frame and you can see the despair on the Manchester United players faces... I’m glad it all came together for my remote camera... predictably I was blocked from where I was sitting!"

 

Dennis Grombkowski

Follow Dennis on Twitter @DGrombkowski

Thomas Diethart of Austria competing in the Four Hills Tournament in Austria.

"The Four Hills competition in Bischofshofen is a night event which is always a challenge as there isn’t much light to freeze the action.  It was qualification day which meant I had some freedom to find alternative angles on the ski jumpers as they flew down the slope. Right at the moment the competition leader Thomas Diethart went for his qualification jump, a thin cloud set between the lights and the jumper give an almost apocalyptic feel to the picture. I exposed for the floodlights and hoped I could time the shot so Diethart stood out against the glow of the lights. His nearly perfect V shape resulted in a beautiful silhouette.

Even better was the fact he went onto a surprise victory in the competition. It’s always nice to get a good picture of the winner!"

 

Stuart MacFarlane

Follow Stuart on Twitter @Stuart_PhotoAFC

Theo Walcott scoring the 2nd goal against Cardiff in the Barclays Premier League match.

"Theo had just come back from injury and was in great form, scoring important goals for Arsenal, unfortunately he picked up an injury against Tottenham and will now miss the World Cup. I’ve known Theo since he joined Arsenal 8 years ago, he’s a really strong and determined character and I’m sure will come back stronger and fitter than ever.

The picture isn’t technically difficult it’s just a matter of keeping rain off the lens, making sure Theo’s in focus and waiting for the moment he chips the ball over the goalkeeper. Unlike most English football clubs we at Arsenal have a purpose built stadium, the floodlights and working conditions are the best in the Premier League but unfortunately we can’t do anything about the English weather!"

 

Clive Rose

Follow Clive on Twitter @cliverose

Tom Daley of Great Britain during a training session at the London Aquatics Centre

"Having spent more than 6 weeks in the London Aquatics Centre across 2012, including the Olympic Games I was eager to get back inside and see how the venue had changed. After the games the venue was downsized and the much derided ‘wings’ of the building had been discarded and replaced with huge windows. I arrived and was happy to see Arcelormeittal ‘Orbit’ tower, which wasn’t visible during the games, was dominating the view through the windows.

It was a whole new shot which really set the scene for the newly refurbished venue. I was there to cover a Tom Daley training session. He’d won a memorable bronze Olympic bronze medal at the venue and seeing him diving there again brought back some great memories. Tom only made three dives right at the end of his training session so I was pleased not to miss the opportunity to get this shot right."

 

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Follow Dean on Twitter @AllSportSnapper

Orlando Terranova of Argentina and Paulo Fiuza of Portugal in the MINI for Monster Energy X-Raid Team competing in the Dakar Rally through Chile.

"Covering the Dakar Rally was always a job that I thought would be out of my reach with so many great photographers at the company. As soon as I was asked and my flights to Bolivia confirmed, I had visions of blue skies, deserts and helicoptors. This year the rally started in Argentina and headed north to Bolivia before finally finishing in Chile some 14 days and 9000 kilometers later.

The challenges once I arrived exceeded my preconceptions making the satisfaction of getting images like this even more rewarding. The dust, dirt, sand, heat, long hours, lack of sleep and pure scale of the race made this one of my hardest assignments to date but also one of my favorites. This image for me shows the skill of the driver in such a unique terrain for a mini but also the pilot of the TV chopper maintaining focus on the car and dunes which rise and fall like waves in a rough sea."

 

Alan Crowhurst

Sam Twiston-Davies riding Pigeon Island at Cheltenham Racecourse

"It was horrendous weather at Cheltenham Racecourse with strong winds and driving rain all day. Sam Twiston-Davies riding Pigeon Island had pulled up in his race and was making his way back in.

Mud shots in any sport make for good images and horse racing has its fair share of those days. When I saw the state of him I knew I had to take the picture and grabbed my 300mm lens. I’ve done similar pictures before and I prefer it when the jockey has left his goggles down as opposed to pulling them up and leaving a clean white mark showing exactly where they’d been!"

 

Clive Brunskill

Roger Federer in action during his 1st round match in the Australian Open.

"I’ve been shooting the Australian Open since 1990 and it has a special place in my heart, probably because it gets me out of the English winter! I've only missed one in all that time, last year, when my daughter was born and it was good to be back.

On the particular day I took this picture of Roger Federer I noticed he was playing very close to the back of the court as they had pulled the roof over due to the 51.5 degrees heat. This was helping keep the crowd and players cool by placing them in deep shadow.  I knew I needed to get a high position on the concourse and exposed for the super bright sun on the court which was a good 5 stops brighter than the exposure in the shade giving me the silhouette you see here.

What I like is that Roger Federer is instantly recognisable and being known as the greatest player ever it's a nice picture to have. Also it's very rare to see players in the shade but I still had to wait a fair time for him to play a shot that worked. The shot you see is the end of a follow through after one of Roger’s legendary backhands. I think it captures his famous, effortless grace."

 

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