Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award after a sterling Premier League campaign.
Netherlands international Van Dijk has played a pivotal role in the Reds’ thrilling title challenge with Manchester City this season, a battle that looks set to go to the wire.
And his performances have not gone unnoticed, with the 27-year-old’s peers anointing him the competition’s best at a ceremony in London on Sunday.
Raheem Sterling, scorer of 17 goals in a superb season for Manchester City, was considered by many as Van Dijk’s closest rival, but the England star had to settle for being named the Young Player of the Year.
— PFA | Professional Footballers' Association (@PFA) April 28, 2019
City team-mates Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero were also up for the main gong, as were Liverpool forward Sadio Mane and Chelsea star Eden Hazard.
Van Dijk joined Liverpool from Southampton in January 2018 for a widely reported fee of £75million, a world record for his position, and was part of the side that reached the Champions League final last term.
The towering defender, who is the first centre-back since John Terry in the 2004-05 season to win the prize, has played all 36 league matches for Jurgen Klopp’s side this term.
Last season, Liverpool conceded 38 goals in as many matches, but they look set to massively improve on that this season, having seen their defence breached on just 20 occasions – giving them the best record in the division.
It marks the second season straight that a Liverpool player has won the prestigious individual award, with Mohamed Salah having done so 12 months ago.