Peter Crouch has hailed Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk for his performances this season.
“The performances of Virgil Van Dijk have been an absolute joke,” wrote the former Liverpool man.
According to Crouch, Virgil joins Manchester City duo Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne on his hypothetical shortlist for Player of the Year.
Making up the rest of the pundit’s top five are two of Van Dijk’s Liverpool teammates.
“Sadio Mane as well, coming back from winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal and picking up where he left off. He has to be in the conversation,” claimed Crouch.
“I do seem to be skirting around the fact that Mo Salah — already crowned FWA Footballer of the Year — has the most goals and assists this season.
“Clearly he has to be in there, given how electric he has been throughout the campaign, even allowing for him going off the boil slightly in recent weeks. Those five names are my list and it has to be one of them. If the two clubs trade trophies, Salah pips the others in my view for his sheer weight of goal contributions.”
We’d swap the City pair for Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alisson Becker. Otherwise, not a bad list, Crouchy.
Return of the king
The way Van Dijk has bounced back from his ACL injury last year has been supreme. There were fears early on in the season that he had dropped down a level from his previous performance.
That followed from some uncharacteristically shaky displays in the early part of the season. Reports of his demise were premature though, and Virgil has cruised back into top gear since the turn of the year.
Liverpool have been outrageously good at not conceding goals recently. Their last four games reads a big fat zero in the goals against column.
Not all of that is down to The Reds’ number 4, and Alisson deserves a massive mention too, but he is the leader of the infamous and deadly high line.
Without his class, there’s no way that Liverpool could play their offside inducing tactic. It may be controversial but it’s hugely effective, and that mostly comes from the Dutchman.
He may not win any individual awards this season, as more illustrious attackers usually take the plaudits. But he should be immensely satisfied with his contribution to Liverpool’s season nonetheless.
Liverpool are on course to take 94 points in the Premier League this season. Should they do that, and taking out his injured year, The Reds will have earned 290 points in the last three season with Virgil at the back.
That’s absolutely unheard of. Should Van Dijk get the nod for Player of the Year, he would have deserved it one-hundred percent.