I haven’t thought much about the EPL Player of the Year race, but I saw that Andy Robertson said Jordan Henderson should win the award this season. That made me think if Liverpool’s captain is truly the man who deserves the honour.
Let’s take a look at his chances, as well as the claims of several other players that might be contention.
Jordan Henderson, Liverpool
Since Henderson is the reason I wrote this post and the bookmakers believe he is the favorite, let’s start with him. I don’t think that the Liverpool skipper is doing something different than any other season, really. And that’s not a dig him, quite the contrary.
Jordan Henderson is one of the most consistent and reliable players I’ve ever watched. The other similar guys that come to mind are James Milner, Dirk Kuyt, and Ray Parlour. I love them all and I believe every great team needs at least one footballer of this type.
It’s the player that might not be the most technically gifted but will work relentlessly every single game. He will put in the dirty work, he will score vital goals, he will never give up, and he will never stop improving off the pitch.
These guys usually don’t get the credit they deserve from the neutral fans or even their own supporters. However, they leave a mark on the game and the club they play for.
I think this season might be an exception and Henderson could actually receive recognition. The reason for that is that Liverpool’s dominance is not the product of the individual brilliance of one player.
You could say that Van Dijk’s leadership and Salah’s goals were the main reasons why the Reds were so good in the previous two seasons. However, Liverpool is like a machine in this campaign and the team spirit is the main reason behind the club’s success.
No one embodies that better than Jordan Henderson and that puts him in pole position for the EPL Player of the Year Award.
Saido Mane, Liverpool
Henderson’s teammate Saido Mane is another player who is in contention for the prize. He spent some of the past in the shadow of Mo Salah, but that didn’t break his confidence.
Instead, Mane has continued to improve steadily and has been the most impressive member of the Big Three up front in 2019-20. He scores plenty of goals and provides many impressive assists. More importantly, Mane does that in the most vital games for Liverpool.
The forward can be proud of his performance, but I don’t think he has done quite enough to win become the Player of the Year.
His team is simply too good right now and there are too many other exceptional performers. It’s hard to shine individually when all of your teammates are on a world-class level too. Not that Mane would complain about that!
Virgil Van Dijk, Liverpool
The man who won was the EPL Player of the Year last season and challenged Lionel Messi for Ballon d’Or hasn’t changed much. Virgil Van Dijk is still the leader of Liverpool’s defense and provider of important goals in tough moments.
It would be hard to exclude him from the race, but I feel that it might be the time for others to shine. One of the main reasons why the Dutch defender won last year is the difference he made after his arrival.
It was obvious and deserved recognition. Most fans and specialists are used to his brilliance this year, so I don’t think he can win the award once again. He certainly will be on the shortlist, but I’m not sure of Van Dijk’s chances.
Kevin de Bruyne, Manchester City
Let’s get this clear from the beginning – Kevin de Bruyne can’t become Player of the Year this season. Not because his performance doesn’t deserve it, but because his team has been way below the expectations and couldn’t put up a proper fight.
The reason I’m including the Belgian in this post is simply because he’s been phenomenal and this has to be recognized. If a couple of more of his teammates were close to his level, Manchester City could’ve been still in the race for the EPL crown.
It’s obvious that a Liverpool player will win the award and I think Andy Robertson is right. In this particular season, no one has been significantly better than the rest, because all players of the club have been exceptional.
That puts Jordan Henderson in an excellent position to become the EPL Player of the Year. Unless something changes dramatically in the next month or two, the Liverpool captain is my favorite for the award.