In a scenario where six of the first ten members of the list of the Ballon d’Or prize, organized by France Football magazine, play their trades in the Premier League, the competition for the title of Best Player of the Season is increasingly fierce. So, keep up with the strongest names in the race so far.
Three seasons after debuting in the Premier League with the Reds’ shirt, the young English defender has established himself as a pillar of the league’s best defense. If before he was questioned for his defensive capacity, today the Liverpool shirt 66 is a very safe piece. Even though his main characteristic remains the quality of the offensive support.
The evolution of Jurgen Klopp’s game system was shown to be concomitant with the growth of TAA, as he is popularly known. With only 21 years old, Arnold is the leader in assists in the squad – being the second in the league. Besides, he is the man of the team’s dead ball situation. The scouser brought a leading role in the construction of the offensive volume that perhaps no other defender in the world can match today.
As an example, this season, in addition to the aforementioned goal passing statistics, the winger is the player who recorded the most hits on the ball and the second biggest passer in the English league. Having already matched his own goal-passing record as a defender, established after a splendid season, Trent Alexander-Arnold still presents himself with a margin for evolution.
Vice-leader of assists, member of the best defense of the competition and elected best player of the month of December. The British side’s credentials are considerable and make him a serious candidate for the best player of the season.
Approximately £30 million. That was the amount Liverpool paid Southampton to hire the Senegalese striker and take him to the Merseyside region. The inflation of the transfer market in the years after such a transfer made the business an immeasurable bargain. Currently, Transfermarkt estimates the market value of the man in jersey number 10 of Liverpool to be around £ 125 million.
In general, Sadio has maintained a high level of performance in the league since the days of Saints. It has been around six years causing a considerable impact on the clubs, but always showing a gradual evolution that does not seem to end. If the excellent season 2018-19 was not enough, Mane has been building an even better period. The African striker, always fast and skillful, continually develops his ability to finish and his decision making, balancing the number of goals and assists.
The context behind the Senegalese figures highlights what is perhaps his main feature today, its decisive character. Of their 21 goalscoring appearances in the 2019-20 Premier League (14 goals and 7 assists), 14 were responsible for drawing or breaking the dead-lock. In other words, Mane interferes little in order to increase advantages, but he produces a lot in the difficult moments of the matches, such as in turns or opening scores.
Mane also stands out for being a more complete attacker, not only in the performance of different functions, but also in fundamentals. Among his 14 league goals, eight were from the right leg, four from the left and two from the head, an extremely balanced mark. The remarkable shirt 10 of the Anfield club, voted best player in the month of November and deputy top scorer of the team, with 14 goals, comes strong in the dispute for the prize of best of this Premier League.
Even though he inherited the Steven Gerrard’s captain’s belt since the retirement of the legendary shirt 8, Jordan Henderson is perhaps the most criticized and underestimated player among the usual Klopp-era starters .
Despite the suspicions of fans about the English midfielder, the German coach has always been of the opposite opinion. In the most important games of the seasons under his command, Hendo is always present in the first 11, playing different roles. This season, for example, he has already served as first and second midfielder and, in some specific moments, as a midfielder on the right side.
In addition to versatility, shirt number 14, along with Virgil van Dijk, is a leader in the spirit and mentality of the squad, essential factors for any team, but even more so for a Liverpool as vibrant as Jurgen desires. The Brit is characterized by helping the Reds in the movement of the ball, in the defensive moment – due to his physical and reading ability – and with long passes, in inversions of the game or offensive transition.
After the change of position, Jordan became the Liverpool midfielder with the most goals in the league, with three goals and five assists. Six of these collaborations occurred after the change in positioning. Acting on the base of the midfield tripod, the Englishman became the club’s biggest passer in the position and even took the lead in blocking, intercepting and tackling statistics in the sector.
Proving his worth in the past two seasons, despite playing different roles on the pitch, Jordan Henderson seems to have finally won the crowd at the Anfield. Chosen as the best English player of the year 2019, Hendo has great predicates in the dispute for the title of best player in the 2019-20 Premier League.
Kevin de Bruyne
One day as a flop at Chelsea, Kevin de Bruyne left no room for this idea to be repeated on his return to the Premier League. Since arriving at Manchester City in 2015, the Belgian has maintained a high level of regularity in the English league. In all that time, he registered an average of 0.6 participations in goals per game, until last season, in which it suffered a lot with injuries.
If the Citizens are not able to repeat the performance of years past, shirt 17 lives in the opposite situation. The midfielder counts 16 assists and 8 goals in 26 games, being the player of the competition with more direct participations in goals and walking to make his best season – in individual terms – with the sky-blue shirt.
At present, Kevin is considered by many to be the best midfielder in the world. Very complete, he actively participates in the entire game plan ordered by Pep Guardiola, even in moments without the ball, being an example of physical disposition in the post-loss pressure that the coach stimulates.
In the offensive part, the Belgian is one of the main names in the Spanish coach’s position game. Very versatile, de Bruyne is able to decide in the final meters of the field, with his ambidexterity and precision in the finishes, or acting on the basis of the play, using his passes to “break” his teammates and break the opponent’s lines.
In this sense, it should be noted that perhaps the Belgian is the owner of the best crossroads today. It is amazing the number of goals resulting from these actions, usually on the right side of the field and aimed at attackers who perform the diagonal movement towards the second post or the center of the area.
With all the hint that he will reach the record for assists belonging to Thierry Henry and being statistically the most decisive player in the offensive phase of the league, Kevin de Bruyne appears to be the only name outside of Liverpool capable of being crowned the best player of the tournament season.
Virgil van Dijk
The current winner of the award in question, and voted best defender in the world by FIFA The Best and Ballon d’Or 2019, makes another season to be remembered. The main pillar of Liverpool’s defensive line maintains regularity and helped the team to have the best defense in the league, with 12 clean sheets and 21 goals conceded.
If the great individual performance were not enough, the Dutch is able to directly influence the performance of his defense partners. If Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez are far from being unanimous, it is undeniable that they performed at a high level alongside Virgil.
This season, the young and promising English defender, Joe, regained confidence by playing alongside shirt 4, presenting not only solidity and defensive security, but also daring in vertical passes, as van Dijk risks at times. More than a locker room leader, the Netherlands defender is a mentor and example for players, especially teammates.
In addition to his excellent work in protecting the goal defended by Alisson Becker, Virgil is the defender with the most goals and the biggest passer in the league, collaborating to qualify the Reds’ ball output. Therefore, the list of motivations to compete for the 2019-20 Premier League best player award is extensive.