Football

Three Liverpool aces fight it out for Player of the Year as De Bruyne leads opposition


Liverpool trio Jordan Henderson, Sadio Mane and Trent Alexander-Arnold have all been named as nominees for the Premier League Player of the Year award, with Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne thought to be the strongest non-Liverpool candidate for the gong. But reigning Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk does not feature on the seven-man shortlist.

Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope is named, as is Premier League Golden Boot winner Jamie Vardy and Southampton striker Danny Ings.

That means there are five Englishman among the seven finalists.

Not a single Manchester United or Chelsea player feature despite the the Red Devils and the Blues finishing third and fourth respectively, although six made the shortlist for the Young Player of the Year award.

Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a curious absentee after mustering 22 goals in an underperforming Gunners team.

Right-back Alexander-Arnold is also nominated for the Young Player of the Year prize, which he is the favourite to win after a four-goal, 13-assist campaign.

But it is Liverpool captain Henderson, winner of the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year, who is the favourite for the Player of the Year.

The midfielder skippered the Reds to their first league title since 1990 and contributed four goals and five assists as Jurgen Klopp’s side earned 99 points.

Winger Mane scored 18 league goals and mustered seven assists, but team-mate Mohamed Salah – who managed 19 goals and 10 assists – is not included.

Nor is towering centre-back Van Dijk, who won the Premier League Player of the Year award in 2019 after Salah had claimed it in 2018.

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Liverpool are looking to become the first team since Manchester United between 2007 and 2009 to have three successive winners, with Cristiano Ronaldo claiming the accolade in back-to-back years before Nemanja Vidic.

But the Red Devils’ joint-top scoring striker Marcus Rashford is left out despite a 17-goal campaign, as is Anthony Martial. Midfielder Bruno Fernandes would certainly have been a challenger had he played for United for the entirety of the season.

Instead, Leicester’s Vardy – who plundered 23 goals and added five assists – is included although the Foxes missed out on Champions League qualification due to a final-day defeat to United.

Still, Brendan Rodgers’ men mustered the second-best finish ever for the Midlands club in the Premier League.

Ings, who was one goal behind compatriot Vardy, is also a contender after enjoying the best goalscoring league season of his career to date with the Saints.

Burnley shot-stopper Pope is perhaps a surprise contender given that he was beaten to the Golden Glove award by City’s Ederson, but the England goalkeeper enjoyed a terrific campaign individually with 15 clean sheets and a string of impressive saves. 

Yet it is the brilliant De Bruyne who is the most likely to deny Liverpool a hat-trick of winners after the Belgian’s virtuoso displays in 2019-20.

The City playmaker equalled Arsenal legend Thierry Henry’s record of 20 league assists and also added 13 goals.

No player was directly involved in more Premier League goals than the 29-year-old, who established himself as the best attacking midfielder in world football and played a vital role in City finishing as the top-scoring team in the English top flight.

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The winner of the award will be announced at 10am on Thursday August 13, as will the Young Player of the Year and Manager of the Year victors.

Premier League Player of the Year nominee list in full

Nick Pope – Burnley

Jordan Henderson – Liverpool

Sadio Mane – Liverpool

Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool

Jamie Vardy – Leicester

Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City

Danny Ings – Southampton





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