Virgil van Dijk has beaten Raheem Sterling to become the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year for 2019.
The official announcement is due on Thursday but the Liverpool centre-half has won the backing of his fellow professionals for his outstanding contribution in the best defence in the Premier League this season, according to Daily Mail.
But perhaps the biggest surprise is the inclusion of Manchester United’s Paul Pogba in a PFA Team of the Year that does not include Chelsea’s Eden Hazard.
Pogba is the only player outside Liverpool and City to make the XI, with six City and four Liverpool players reflecting the dominance of the clubs battling for this season’s Premier League title.
Ederson, Aymeric Laporte, Fernandinho, Bernardo Silva, Aguero and Sterling are the City six, and Van Dijk is joined by Mane and Liverpool’s full backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson
Victory for the Dutch defender means the prize remains with Liverpool, following Mohamed Salah’s triumph last season.
The 2019 PFA Awards will be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Sunday, April 28.
The Holland international joined Liverpool in January 2018 in a £75million transfer from Southampton has made 44 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool so far this season.