Chris Sutton was left stunned at the decision to omit Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk from the Premier League Player of the Season shortlist.
Speaking on BBC 5 Live’s Monday Night Club, Sutton couldn’t believe that Van Dijk had been overlooked for the award.
“Player of the season, Virgil van Dijk,” he said. “He’s been very good. Liverpool are a different team with him in.
“I don’t think he was even in the nominations for Player of the Year, which I find absolutely remarkable. I just think that you look at him since he’s gone to Liverpool and look how they have achieved, and they have achieved largely because of him. He’s been the outstanding player in the Premier League.”
Considering some of the other names that were included, it’s definitely a fair shout.
Virgil still at the top of his game
When you’re as good as Van Dijk, people simply become blasé about great performances. The same thing happened to Lionel Messi in his pomp. Excellence is expected.
In that sense Virgil has certainly become a victim of his own success. Praise and adulation has still come his way, and deservedly so, but there seems to be a feeling that he’s no longer at the peak of his powers.
Anyone who has watched Liverpool for any length of time this season will tell you how false that is. The 30-year-old has recovered remarkably to have a pretty much impeccable season.
Comparing this campaign to the last without Van Dijk, and you can see exactly the difference he makes.
Jamie Redknapp recently made the point that the Dutchman is Liverpool’s most important player. Hopefully we don’t have to see more evidence of that if he doesn’t make it back fit for Saturday’s Champions League final.
Fortunately, it looks as though the centre-back will be fine. The Reds will need him if they are to win a seventh European crown in the French capital.
The biggest games need the biggest players. In Van Dijk, Liverpool have one of the most outstanding ever seen in his position.