Liverpool

Why the four Liverpool nominees should win the PFA Player of the Year

Players at Anfield have won the award two years running and four Reds are within a chance this year.

 
10:00am on Monday 7th September 2020
By
Nicholas Hughes

The PFA Player of the Year award has had an extended stay at Melwood the last two years and there are four chances for it to remain in Liverpool hands for the next 12 months.

Mohamed Salah picked up the award in 2018 after his record-breaking 32-goal season, his first at the club having signed from Roma in the summer of 2017.

That was followed up Virgil van Dijk becoming just the fourth defender ever to win the award in 2019 after a campaign that so nearly landed him a Ballon d’Or.

Both of those awards came without Liverpool winning the league, but this time around the Reds finally reached the summit with a club-record 99 points clinching a maiden Premier League title.

The roles might well be reversed with a Manchester City player winning in Liverpool’s successful season, but the four Reds players are each worthy of winning the prestigious prize.

Jordan Henderson

30 yrs - M (C) - Liverpool
86
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
2244
Played matches
30
4
5
Duels won P90
4.41
Passes P90
73.12
Man of the match
3
AVG Rating
7.2

The Liverpool captain has been through it all since a move from Sunderland in 2010. The midfielder was almost out the door at the club early on, but 10 years later he has lifted the two biggest trophies of his career.

The 30-year-old has silenced his critics and produced one of his best seasons of top-flight football in 2019/20, having already scooped the top gong from the Football Writers Association.

His four goals and five assists are his best numbers since 2014/15 and had him in the top three amongst Premier League midfielders for goals and assists, behind Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva who, in fairness, are considerably more attack-minded players.

The hallmark of Henderson’s season has been his consistency and his effectiveness in all facets of play. While he has upped his creation as mentioned, he remains impactful in his ball retention with 85% passing accuracy, showing he can retain the ball and dictate play as well as helping to create goals.

The Reds’ skipper was in the top 10 amongst midfielders who played 1,000 minutes in defensive stats such as percentage of duels and tackles won, as well as being in the top 20 for recoveries per 90 as he often set the tone for Liverpool’s energy and pressing through the middle of the pitch.

Liverpool’s no.14 was one of the most consistent performers in the division all season, and captaining the best team in the league proves his credibility as one of the top players in the competition.

Virgil van Dijk

29 yrs - D (C) - Liverpool
89
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
3420
Played matches
38
5
Man of the match
6
Aerials Won P90
4.76
Touches P90
94.37
Passes P90
84.82
AVG Rating
7.3

The holder of the award was again a huge part of Liverpool’s success, marshalling the defence while being a threat from set-pieces and an important outlet in the build-up of attacks.

No centre-back in the league has a higher average rating than his 7.3 and his 76% aerial duel success rate was second best all season.

Perhaps the most important figure of the season was Van Dijk’s minutes played, being all 3420 that were available in the Premier League. He was one of only seven outfielders to reach this mark.

His five goals were a league-high for centre-halves as was his percentage of successful duels, and all over his defensive output has him among the very best in the division.

The Dutchman was a colossus once again, solidifying his position as arguably the best central defender in the Premier League and the world.

SADIO MANE

28 yrs - W, AM (L) - Liverpool
85
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
2755
Played matches
35
18
7
Dribbles P90
2.19
Duels won P90
6.63
Touches in box opp P90
7.15
AVG Rating
7.1

Sadio Mane has gone from strength to strength in a Liverpool shirt and earned a second consecutive nomination for the award.

Only teammate Mohamed Salah and top scorer Jamie Vardy had more goals and assists than the Senegalese did with 25, courtesy of an equal career-best seven assists.

In a gruelling season, Mane stepped up in big moments for the team with seven decisive goals and was a top-10 Premier League winner in just about all key creative stats, including dribbles, shots and final third passes per 90.

On top of that, his importance in Liverpool’s press is not to be understated as he also ranks in the top 20 wingers for recoveries and percentage of duels won.

Continuing his record of reaching double figures for goals scored in every Premier League season, Mane is still getting better and his contributions were a big reason why Liverpool lifted the trophy.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

85
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
3176
Played matches
38
4
13
Crosses P90
10.68
Final third passes
23.15
Long balls P90
12.10
AVG Rating
7.2

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s rise has been meteoric to say the least. Still at just 21 years of age, it is easy to forget that he is only really coming off his third full season in senior football.

Obviously, with Alexander-Arnold, his attacking output is the large attraction. He had the most goals and assists out of any full-back in the Premier League, beating his own record from just the season before with 13 assists, the most by a defender in the competition’s history.

The Scouser also led full-backs in big chances created and is second overall only behind De Bruyne, also topping the entire league with 10.7 crosses per 90.

He ranks in the top five for full-backs in passes and final third passes per 90 and his 12.1 long balls per 90 was comfortably the leading figure.

But Alexander-Arnold has developed to be such a well-rounded player. He touched the ball 102.8 times per 90, the most of any Liverpool, as he became a key outlet in the way Liverpool built the play going forward.

He also upped his game defensively with a 60% tackle success rate and 6.3 recoveries per 90 with put him in the top five for his position in that category, too.

For the first time in his young career he featured in every league game and performed consistently at the highest level. Whether or not he wins it this year, Alexander-Arnold is likely to be in these conversations for years to come.

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