Sterling named Football Writers' Player of the Year

Virgil van Dijk, as widely predicted, was crowned PFA Player of the Year 2018/19 last night at the annual players' celebration.

Since signing from Southampton for a world record fee for a defender of £75 million (Dh356m) in January 2018, the Netherlands global has made crucial contributions to the side, playing in all their Premier League games so far this season.

Van Dijk been a pivotal part of the Reds push to win their first Premier League title.

The Dutch worldwide is the second Liverpool player in a row to win the award after forward Mohamed Salah a year ago and joins compatriots Dennis Bergkamp, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robin van Persie in claiming the honour.

It was leaked last week that van Dijk was set to pick up the award but it was made official on Sunday as he saw off competition from Raheem Sterling, Eden Hazard and Sadio Mane.

"In the air, as you'd probably expect from a defender that's 6'3", Van Dijk is utterly dominant.

The monumental task of marking Lionel Messi is nigh on impossible, just ask the defensive line of Manchester United, who struggled to deal with his genius in the Champions League quarter-finals.

The Reds will play the first leg of their semi-final away in Catalunya, before deciding the tie in front of their own fans in Anfield on May 7.

Both were selected in a PFA Premier League team of the year dominated by Liverpool and Manchester City players.

Much of the build-up has centred around the potential duel between Van Dijk and Messi - generally seen as the best centre-back in the world up against the finest player on the planet now, and perhaps in history.

19 - No outfield player has registered more clean sheets than Van Dijk in the Premier League this season.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk returns to the Nou Camp this week hoping to erase the memory of his only other appearance at the home of Barcelona. "I love playing for Liverpool, I am proud to wear the shirt". I think the best player in the world. We just take it game by game.

"He is a fantastic manager and also a fantastic human being, and I think that really helps the club".

Houghton was also named in in the PFA's Women's Super League Team of the Year alongside City team-mates Parris and Demi Stokes.

  • Angelo Rivera