Every month we rank the players leading the charge to be crowned Player of the Year, as Jordan Henderson roars up to the No 1 slot and a Man Utd target breaches the top 10.
Every month we’ll be ranking the Premier League’s 10 best players in a bid to calculate who is on course to be crowned Player of the Year.
We’ll explain our thoughts, show you the climbers and fallers and name the players threatening to break into the top 10….
(Last month: 7th)
Since Steven Gerrard departed Anfield, descriptions of Henderson were along the lines of him being a fine captain and reliable presence in the Liverpool engine room. However, the praise has now rocketed and deservedly so.
Now he’s talked of as an inspirational skipper and one of the Premier League’s very best midfielders. Henderson has been sensational over the last few months, scoring, assisting and fuelling Liverpool’s relentless drive towards the title.
No wonder he’s been installed as the hot favourite to win PFA Player of the Year.
2/ Sadio Mane
(Last month: 1st)
It’s been a quiet few weeks for Mane with just a single goal in January before he suffered a muscle injury. But so much of the groundwork for Liverpool’s monstrous 22-point lead has been down to the frontman’s excllence. Mane’s pace, energy and guile have constantly put teams on the back foot and his goals and assists in key moments have altered the outcome in the Reds’ favour when things might have gone a different way.
3/ Virgil van Dijk
Liverpool have won 11 of their 25 matches in the Premier League by a single-goal margin so they’ve hardly been pulverising teams. The Reds see tight games out time after time in huge part to their unflappable Dutchman with his timely interventions via head or foot when the pressure mounts. Goodness knows how many points he’s saved them. Liverpool have conceded just 15 goals, 11 fewer than next-best Leicester and nearly half the amount of Man City (29). A massive presence who calms everyone around him.
(Last month: 6th)
4/ Kevin De Bruyne
(Last month: 2nd)
It’s perhaps harsh to drop him two spots given that his 15 assists are more than twice as many as everyone in the Premier League apart from the bloke below him in this top 10 list. De Bruyne’s season was probably summed up in the 1-1 draw at Newcastle in late November. He scored a sensational late strike that deserved to win any match but the unreliable City defence conceded soon after to dilute the effect of his brilliance.
5/ Trent Alexander-Arnold
(Last month: 4th)
The assists keep coming for TTA, who hit double figures in January thanks to setting up goals in the back-to-back wins over Manchester United and Wolves. He’s improved his positional awareness too in a Liverpool side which has conceded just once in their last 10 Premier League games and the way he pings a pass to switch play or whips a cross into the box marks him down as something to behold.
He may now win the Player of the Year – but the lad is an absolute mortgage-job winner of the Young Player accolade!
6/ Danny Ings
(Last month: 8th)
Only Jamie Vardy and Sergio Aguero have netted more Premier League goals than Ings this season. Most sides under threat of the drop rue the lack of cutting edge but Ings has given Southampton horns, constantly scuttling into penalty boxes, kicking up dust and delivering the kill. Arguably, no striker is worth as much to their team as Ings is to the Saints.
(Last month: New entry)
As with De Bruyne, his excellence deserves better than being part of a faltering City side which sits 22 points off top spot. Bizarrely, he doesn’t always get the accolades his numbers deserve. They’re perhaps showcased best right now by this season’s goals per minutes table. Aguero has netted once every 73 minutes which is a mile clear of any rival striker (Vardy one every 123 minutes, Aubameyang 145, Kane 162 if you want some comparisons).
8/ Mo Salah
How’s this for a ridiculous stat: Salah has walked off the pitch a winner in each of his last 31 Premier League starts. Yep, Liverpool’s Egyptian King missed the 1-1 draw at Man Utd in October so his record this season and a chunk of last is the full 100% since a 0-0 draw at Everton in March, 2019. His contribution to that has really stepped up since the turn of the year and five Premier League goals in 2020 has Salah sniffing the Golden Boot for a third year running.
9/ Adama Traore
(Last month: 9th)
Being the fastest player in the Premier League is not much good if you have no end product but Traore has completely changed the script this term. Wolves are the only team to score a Premier League goal against Liverpool in the last two busy months of action and it came via a Traore burst of pace and pinpoint cross.
No wonder Jurgen Klopp said after that January clash: “Traore is unplayable in moments, it’s unbelievable. What a player.”
10/ Jack Grealish
(Last month: New entry)
For all the hype, Grealish managed just one more goal (six) than he did yellow cards (five) in the Championship last season. Like Traore, he’s now producing much more tangible output – and in a higher division. The Villa man has blasted in nine goals already, helping Villa to a League Cup final and almost conducting a one-man bid to keep them up.
Jamie Vardy, Allison, everyone connected with Sheffield United (!), Raheem Sterling, Roberto Firmino, Raul Jimenez, Ricardo Pereira