Liverpool enjoyed a fruitful 2018/19 season and as a result will have a few players in contention to win the most glamorous individual prize in football come the end of the year.
It says a lot about how good Liverpool were last season the top five best performing players for the year is dominated by Reds.
Alisson Becker, Virgil Van Dijk, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah all have a very good chance of finishing on the podium at France Football’s prestigious award ceremony come the end of the year.
Most fans will have their own opinion on who deserves it the most but, for me, the Liverpool player most deserving is a toss-up between Van Dijk and Alisson.
On one hand, you have the best defender in the world and on the other, you have the best goalkeeper on the planet. It’s a refreshing change from seeing attackers having the first pick at the most illustrious individual prizes in football.
Van Dijk is a £75million man and is arguably the more impressive player which might have a lot to do with the fact that outfield players generally have more involvement than goalkeepers but there is no disputing that the Dutchman was absolutely outstanding last season for both club and country.
But then again, so was Alisson Becker. He is the first goalkeeper in history to win the Golden Glove in three different tournaments as he recorded the most clean sheets in the Premier League, Champions League and the Copa America.
He also won the Copa America and was named in the Team of the Tournament.
While it shouldn’t be the defining factor, winning trophies matters a lot in the voting for the Ballon d’Or as Lionel Messi controversially discovered last year as he wasn’t even named in the Top 5 despite unequivocally being the best performer.
Luka Modric was a deserving winner but not more so than Messi.
The 2019 Ballon d’Or is not nearly as clear cut as it has been in recent years with Messi once again breaking the 40-goal mark but how do you accurately stack that up against the achievements of a top notch defender and a first rate goalkeeper.
The obvious answer is that you can’t. History suggests that Messi will be the favourite as the last defender to win the Ballon d’Or was Fabio Cannavaro as he heroicly led Italy to a World Cup win in Germany in 2006.
Between Van Dijk and Alisson, very little separates them but given how much silverware has counted for in the past, it seems likely that the Brazilian will win more votes than his Dutch teammate.
Whether or not the Brazilian will win more votes than Lionel Messi or Bernardo Silva or even Raheem Sterling remains to be seen.