Virgil van Dijk has defeated Raheem Sterling to claim the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) Player of the Year award.
Van Dijk beat out a host of Manchester City players aside from Sterling, including Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva, along with Reds team-mate Sadio Mane and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard to the award, which is voted on by the members of the PFA.
The Netherlands international has proven to be worth every penny of the world-record fee for a defender Liverpool paid for him ahead of the January 2018 transfer window to snap him up from Southampton, as he has marshalled a back line that has conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League this season.
In addition to his defensive contributions, Van Dijk has chipped in with three goals and two assists this season for the Reds in the Premier League, while adding another two goals and two assists in the Champions League.
As a result, Liverpool find themselves in the hunt to win their first Premier League title, though the Reds trail City by a single point with just two games remaining for each side.
The Reds also are in the Champions League semi-final, where they will face Barcelona with the first leg to take place Wednesday at Camp Nou in hopes of making their second consecutive final in the competition.
The centre-back is the second Liverpool player to take the award in as many years, after Mohamed Salah was named winner in 2017-18.
All of the nominees were the award were among the PFA Team of the Year, where they were joined by Paul Pogba, Fernandinho, Andy Robertson, Aymeric Laporte, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ederson.
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Meanwhile, Sterling did take some some individual honors, as he was named the PFA Young Player of the Year.
The 24-year-old has scored 17 goals and added 10 assists for City this season as he has been key in the club’s attempt to repeat as Premier League champions.
Sterling beat out team-mate Silva, Liverpool’s Alexander-Arnold, Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, West Ham’s Declan Rice and Bournemouth’s David Brooks.
He is also the second Man City player to win the award in the last two seasons, after Leroy Sane won the award last season.