Virgil van Dijk is set to win the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award after an incredible 2018/19 season with Liverpool.
The Dutch defender has been imperious all year long, helping the Reds maintain a title fight in the Premier League as well as showcasing his prowess in Europe.
A week ago, the six-man shortlist was revealed as containing two Reds stars, Van Dijk and Sadio Mane, though it was the Liverpool No. 4 who was thought to be favourite along with ex-Red and current Man City forward, Raheem Sterling.
He will take as reigning Players’ Player of the Year from team-mate Mohamed Salah, who won it last term after an unstoppable debut campaign in red.
It is Van Dijk, however, who has arguably had an even more impressive impact on Jurgen Klopp‘s team, not just with his own ability in defence but in how he has influenced the entire side.
Regardless of his centre-back partner, the Reds have looked more assured and organised since Van Dijk’s arrival in January last year, while the defensive record has improved immeasurably too.
Van Dijk will become the first defender to win the award since John Terry in 2004, while prior to that it was Paul McGrath in 1992/93, highlighting the rare level of impression he has made on his fellow top-flight professionals this season.
The PFA awards ceremony will take place in London on Sunday, where the Young Player version of the award will also be handed out—Trent Alexander-Arnold is in the running.
The last time Liverpool players won the Players’ Player award in successive seasons was back in ’83 and ’84, as Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush took top spot respectively.
Since then, John Barnes (’88), Steven Gerrard (’06) and Luis Suarez (’14) were the other winners playing for Liverpool, up until Salah and now Van Dijk added their names to the roll call.