On Sunday, Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk picked up the PFA Player of the Year award, with Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling winning the Young Player of the Year award. The City winger also picked up the Football Writer’s Player of the Year award too.
Sterling was Van Dijk’s only real competition for the title of PFA Player of the Year. However, in the end, the Netherlands international claimed the award after an outstanding season helping the Reds to challenge City for the Premier League title.
The 27-year-old follows in the footsteps of Reds teammate Mohamed Salah in winning the award, as the Egyptian claimed the award last season.
Van Dijk the key to defensive improvement
It is very rare to see one player come into a team and have such a massive impact. Prior to the Reds signing Van Dijk, the Merseysider’s backline was a complete shambles. The former Southampton star has the sort of calmness that helps those around him.
He is so cool and calm on the pitch and is a leader. The fact that Liverpool have conceded just 20 goals this season shows his influence on the Reds defence. He has an immense aura about him.
The only time I have ever seen him get flustered was in interviews after the two Merseyside derbies, when he made some slightly bitter comments about Everton. Apart from that, he has never really seemed animated at all in his time on Merseyside.
Van Dijk would grace any team
Virgil van Dijk has established himself as one of the best centre-backs in the world game this season. He looked like a Rolls Royce of a defender at Celtic and then Southampton. However, since joining Liverpool he seems to have gone up another level.
He is that good now that he would get into any club team in Europe. There is a dearth of top-quality centre-backs at the top level of football. At the minute, the Dutchman has justified his massive fee of £75million.
You have to wonder if Liverpool ends the season empty-handed, will the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona come knocking on the Anfield door. With every move, Van Dijk has made he has moved up a level in his standard of football from Celtic to Southampton to Liverpool.
Liverpool look close to making a return to the summit of the European game. However, until they win something to be even close to the Spanish giants. Real Madrid and Barcelona are a tier above in terms of current club stature, even if it is not reflected in the strength of the respective teams.
The season could end in glory
While individual awards are great for a player’s ego, winning big trophies is always the main goal of any self-respecting top-quality footballer. Van Dijk of course still has a chance of winning both the Premier League title and the Champions League.
The Reds are outsiders to win the Premier League title at odds of 7/2, while the Merseysider’s are also slight underdogs to progress past La Liga champions Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Van Dijk will hope not to follow in Salah’s footsteps of claiming the award, only to end the season empty-handed when it comes to silverware. However, if Liverpool does win a big trophy this season, then the Dutchman will have played more of a part in the victory than any other player at the club.
Did Virgil van Dijk deserve to win the PFA Player of the Year?
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