Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville picked their best Premier League XI of 2020 on Monday Night Football, with six players from title-winners Liverpool making the line-up.
The Sky Sports pundits looked back over the past 12 months, following Chelsea’s win over West Ham, and selected the top-flight’s best performers during that period.
Unsurprisingly, Liverpool were the most represented after they secured a first ever Premier League title.
Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, and Mohamed Salah all made the cut.
Only one Manchester United player made the XI, with the outstanding Bruno Fernandes earning a midfield spot.
In attack, Salah was joined by Tottenham duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min, with Sadio Mane perhaps a surprise omission.
Team in full (4-3-3): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Coady, Van Dijk, Robertson; De Bruyne, Henderson, Fernandes; Salah, Kane, Son.
Neville and Carragher also broke down each position as they gave their reasons for selection.
Alisson out on his own
Neville said: “Alisson has been the best by a mile. Ederson had been outstanding for a few seasons but his standards have dropped. When you have an outstanding goalkeeper, the difference it makes is off the scale. The upgrade from a good goalkeeper to a great goalkeeper, points-wise, is unquantifiable.
Carragher added: “When Alisson was missing at Aston Villa, Liverpool lost 7-2. Liverpool were as bad against Fulham but the difference was that he was in goal. It’s equally important as when Virgil van Dijk came in when Liverpool signed Alisson. Liverpool, without Van Dijk, are still the best team in the league and it’s because he’s there.”
Second centre-back tough to pick
Neville said: “The second centre-back was a debatable one. We had Eric Dier, Harry Maguire, Ayermic Laporte, Tyrone Mings and Conor Coady – but Coady’s stats but were better than the rest. He’s part of a great Wolves defence and has broken into the England team.
Carragher said: “I went with Coady, not only for his Wolves performances but for his England breakthrough too. There’s always a question mark surrounding players who don’t play at the top level, whether it would be Champions League or international football. But Coady stepped up for England, impressing everyone with his personality. We can talk about his clean sheets and how many games he plays but his passing out from the back is as good as anyone – possibly only Van Dijk is better than him.”
No arguments with midfield three
Carragher said: “All of them stand out. Jordan Henderson was footballer of the year last year, Kevin De Bruyne pipped him to PFA Player of the Year and if Bruno Fernandes had been signed in the summer rather than January, I think he’d be in the running for player of the year as well. The three of them would have been fighting it out.
Neville said: “There’s Paul Pogba, David de Gea and Harry Maguire at Manchester United. They’ve all been captains and now there’s Edinson Cavani with his experience, but Fernandes is the leader in that team. You watch him and he’s the leader by example.
“He’s a leader in what he does when he gives the ball away, he sprints straight after it. Every time the team is on the ball, he wants the ball and every time he gets the ball, he wants to play a pass that matters. He’s transformed the whole club and every time he doesn’t play, it’s a massive problem. That’s a big issue when you are almost reliant on him.
Son just pips Mane
Neville said: “You cannot criticise Son or Mane. There is no negative about them. They are both absolutely world-class. Every club in the world would want Son or Mane playing for them – Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, every club in the world want those two players.
“Just plug the actual goals and assists in, and Son’s just done better in a team that isn’t as good obviously. Son just won it but that is no reflection on Mane. He could’ve easily been in the team.
Carragher said: “I love Mane but he’s just going through a little spell at the moment. He’s got just one goal in nine games whereas Son’s been off the charts. You couldn’t not pick Son.”