The international break gives us a chance to reflect on what has happened in the Premier League thus far this season. One of the biggest stories so far has been Liverpool’s title challenge. The Reds are currently top of the table by two points, although second place reigning champions Manchester City have a game in hand on the Merseysider’s.
One of the biggest stars of Liverpool’s season so far has been Dutch man-mountain Virgil van Dijk. The Dutchman is currently one of the favourites to win the PFA Premier League Player of the Year award.
A colossus in the centre of defence
Van Dijk has been a colossus in the heart of the Liverpool defence since joining from Southampton for a fee of £75million in the January transfer window of 2018. He looked good for the Saints, but he has been even better for Liverpool.
The Netherlands defender has helped the Reds to the best defensive record in the Premier League. When it comes to blocks and clearances, the former Celtic star ranks top in both categories in Jurgen Klopp’s team.
He very rarely makes a costly mistake. In fact, according to Opta statistic’s the Dutchman has made just one error leading to a goal all season, which came in Liverpool’s last outing when his error allowed Ryan Babel to score for Fulham. The mistake was not costly, as his team still prevailed 2-1.
One of his main strengths is bringing the best out of the players around him. On the pitch he is Liverpool’s leader, shouting at his teammates and constantly instructing them where to be. The 27-year-old is a throwback to the old-fashioned commanding centre-backs, who were boss’s manager on the pitch.
Van Dijk could end the season empty-handed
Liverpool are second favourites to win the Premier League this season. If they fail to get over the line in the title race, then Virgil van Dijk’s claims for Player of the Year award are likely to be diminished.
Rightly or wrongly, the individual awards tend to be affected by what the player’s team achieves in a season. Van Dijk could still win the Premier League title and the Champions League this season. The vote for PFA Premier League Player of the Year is made in April, which could help Van Dijk in the fact that the title race is likely to be still going on.
He deserves the award
On paper, Virgil van Dijk deserves the award. His main competition for the award is likely to be Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling, who have both been prolific in the Premier League this season.
However, it could be argued that no player in any other team in the Premier League has had more of an influence on his team than Van Dijk. In short, it is an individual award for an outstanding player during a campaign.
Even fans of opposing teams would struggle to claim that Virgil van Dijk has not been outstanding this season for Jurgen Klopp’s team. However, it remains to be seen if his excellent will be rewarded by the PFA Player of the Year award.
Will Virgil van Dijk win the PFA Player of the Year award?