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Salah, Mane, Alisson or Van Dijk – Who is Liverpool’s Player of the Season?

Liverpool have one match remaining in a remarkable season, with a host of individuals in the conversation for being the Reds’ Player of the Year – arguably more than ever.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side may have missed out on Premier League glory on Sunday, but they have still won both domestic cups in 2021/22, while the Champions League final is also on the horizon.

There have been Liverpool heroes all over the pitch throughout the campaign, but who has been the standout figure since August?

This season, perhaps more than ever, you could pick from at least a half dozen of players who have truly excelled and shown consistency.

We asked some of the TIA writers to give their selections – here’s what they have gone with…


Jack Lusby – Mohamed Salah

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 19, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There are so many viable candidates, and more than have been listed here: Fabinho, Joel Matip, Andy Robertson and Thiago have been standouts throughout the campaign, too.

But the obvious choice is Mo, and I’d say rightly so.

Put plainly, no player has scored more goals, no player has set up more either. No player across the Premier League scored more match-winners.

He directly contributed to at least five more goals than any other player in the top flight.

Salah has had a hand in at least one goal in 32 different games this season, two goals in 10 different games, three in three different games and tore apart Man United at Old Trafford with a hat-trick and an assist.

He was unstoppable in the first half of the season, and though back-to-back failures with Egypt clearly impacted his form, he still scored eight and assisted six in 24 games after the Africa Cup of Nations.

Personally, I’d say it’s a toss-up between Salah and Mane, but for his sheer output in front of goal and the moments he produced, I’m going for Mo.

One more big performance to come? You wouldn’t bet against it!

 

Joanna Durkan – Sadio Mane

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 22, 2022: Liverpool's Sadio Mané celebrates after scoring the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s not something you would have said in the first half of the season, but, my word, has Sadio Mane turned it on since coming back from AFCON.

Salah is hard to look past for the gong but Mane gives him a run for his money!

There was plenty of talk about Mane’s future in the first half of the season, had he lost that edge and pace to have a consistent influence?

Well, he answered that emphatically with his move into the central role giving him a new lease on life and revitalised Liverpool’s forward line.

He’s had the bit between his teeth and there can be no questioning his hunger to see Liverpool succeed – crucial against Villarreal and dynamite in the FA Cup semi-final, to mention just two.

His 23 goals, the second-highest tally of his Liverpool career, feel as though they’ve gone under the radar – especially when you consider 11 of those goals have been either Liverpool’s first in a game or proven to be the winner.

Moreover, since coming back from winning AFCON, Mane has scored 14 goals and has proved instrumental in the trophy hunt.

A more than worthy winner in my eyes!

 

Matt Ladson – Alisson

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 14, 2022: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker celebrates after making a save in the penalty shoot-out during the FA Cup Final between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. The game ended in a goal-less draw, Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The argument for Alisson is a strong one in my opinion.

While Salah is rightly the obvious choice, Alisson is the outsider option.

He made big, key saves at vital moments in so many important matches. The FA Cup final, against Benfica, against Arsenal, even down to the final day against Wolves at 1-0 down and before that at Southampton.

In the final weeks of the season when games were won by small margins, with the pressure on, he came up big and made the important stops. Whether it was a reaction save or smothering at a forward’s feet, as he does so well.

In another season, it would be Ali who takes Player of the Year and he is undoubtedly the world’s best goalkeeper.

If he caps it off with a match-winning, or even penalty shootout save, in Paris, then Mo should step aside!

 

Henry Jackson – Virgil van Dijk

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Tuesday, May 10, 2022: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Aston Villa FC and Liverpool FC at Villa Park. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In truth, my gut feeling is that Salah may edge it, but I will go for Virgil van Dijk.

He has reached the rarified position of being such a ridiculously special player that we now take him for granted every single week.

Let’s not forget that this was a 30-year-old returning from an ACL injury at the start of the season – nobody knew if he would be the player of old ever again.

He understandably took a few months to hit his absolute optimum level, but since the autumn, he has been immaculate at the heart of Liverpool’s defence.

The Dutchman remains the greatest centre-back I have ever seen in my football-watching lifetime – some may call that hyperbole, but find me a player who is superior in every single area to him.

There isn’t one.

Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate have been superb, but Van Dijk has still held the key to marshalling that high line and he continues to climb the list of all-time Liverpool greats.

If we had signed him last summer, we’d be calling this one of the greatest debut seasons in history – instead, it’s par for the course for ‘Big Virg’ and it’s a shock if he is anything less than perfect in a game.

 

And what about some Liverpool legends?

Here is what Dirk Kuyt, Phil Thompson, Jamie Carragher, Luis Garcia, Jose Enrique and Mark Gonzalez had to say:

Let us know your player of the year in the comments.

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