Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk won the PFA Player of the Year last night, pipping Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling to the award, with the England star picking up PFA young player of the year.
The Liverpool centre back has revolutionised the club’s defence over the last 18 months, since signing from Southampton in January 2018 for £75 million.
This season, Liverpool are still in with a chance of winning both the Premier League and Champions League, but currently sit a point behind Man City in the league and face Barcelona this week as they bid to make the UCL final.
This means, despite a fantastic season, Jurgen Klopp’s side still have a lot of work to do if they want to collect some silverware at the end of it.
This has sparked the debate over who should’ve picked up the individual accolade of Player of the Year, van Dijk collecting the award alongside healthy opposition.
As previously mentioned, 24-year-old Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling was van Dijk’s closest rival for the award.
Sterling has 17 goals in his 32 league appearances this season and has assisted 10.
It’s been the Englishman’s most influential season in the Premier League. He’s come to prominence in a City side with attacking flair and an eye for a big score line.
Recently Sterling has netted two against Crystal Palace to keep City on track for the Premier League title and also scored a hat-trick against Watford in a 3-1 win in March.
With the battle for top spot so tight, every goal contribution counts, and Sterling’s nine goals and assists in his last 10 games have helped hugely towards the title. It wouldn’t have been shocking if Sterling had won the award, he’s certainly been the forward of the year this campaign.
As this season has gone down to the wire between City and Liverpool, sticking with that trend, another player who could’ve won the award that was nominated was Sadio Mane.
Mane has 22 goal contributions, netting 20 and assisting just two in his 34 league appearances. One of the biggest things holding Mane back this campaign has been his assists.
However, he, like Sterling, has shown that he can go to the next level this campaign. It’s not going to be easy to standout in a front three with Mo Salah, but Mane has still made a big impact, winning player of the month in March.
The other nominees
Eden Hazard has been Chelsea’s standout performer in a tough season for the blues, his contributions saw him nominated, but he’s simply been overshadowed by better wingers this year.
One of those wingers, Bernardo Silva, was also nominated. Silva appears to have fully grasped Pep’s style of football this season, and has worked hard to keep Leroy Sane out of the team. Unfortunately, he fell short of Sterling with his contributions to the team, and that’s what he needs to push him on next season.
The final nominee was Sergio Aguero, it show what kind of season the sky blues have had when there whole front three was in the running for player of the year. Aguero’s consistency see’s him nominated, but again, Raheem Sterling just pips him, and for this he deserves to be praised over the ultimate professional Aguero.