By News Team
Last Updated: 20th April 2021
Virgil van Dijk and, to a slightly lesser extent, Alisson are the two players being most heralded for Liverpool’s new-found defensive solidity this Premier League season.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have kept 12 clean sheets and conceded a total of only 10 goals in their opening 21 top-flight fixtures. It’s not unthinkable that they can trump Chelsea’s record of shipping just 15 under Jose Mourinho in 2004/05.
Van Dijk’s influence has resulted in all manner of accolades, including BBC pundit Chris Sutton claiming that he’s currently the third best player in the world.
Some of the Dutchman’s numbers are very impressive – he’s only lost one tackle that he’s contested all season, only five defenders have won more headers and he’s ranked in the top 10 for clearances too.
This doesn’t take into account his organisational skills, terrific positioning, range of passing and general calmness throughout matches.
All of this undoubtedly factors into Van Dijk being the big favourite in the PFA Player of the Year betting, where he’s 4/5 to become the first defender since John Terry in 2004/05 to win the award.
However, with Van Dijk such a clear market leader in this category, it’s a slight surprise to see his chief defensive partner in crime Joe Gomez a lot further down the betting for PFA Young Player of the Year.
The PFA Young Player of the Year betting predictions
Raheem Sterling missed out on the Young Player gong last year when finishing the campaign with 18 Premier League goals.
At the current stage of the season, the 24-year-old is currently four goals shy of this point last term and those he has netted have lacked the significance of the ones he scored in the previous campaign.
For these reasons, Sterling looks plenty short enough in the PFA Young Player of the Year odds at 5/6.
City teammate and last year’s winner Leroy Sane comes next at 7/1 and he’s performing very similarly to this point last term, with an identical 14 goal involvements, albeit from 100 fewer minutes of action.
Sane’s issue could be that Benjamin Mendy is expected to return from injury before the end of January for Man City and should this happen, Sane’s pitch time is likely to be heavily reduced.
The pair have only started three matches together across all competitions all season.
Bernardo Silva is next at 8/1 and he may suffer the same fate at Man City, with Kevin de Bruyne already back from injury.
With the first three all looking opposable, Gomez has plenty of appeal at 14/1, despite missing Liverpool’s last eight games with a fractured leg.
Much could hinge on when he returns to action, with no date currently pencilled in.
Yet the facts remain that in over 1,000 minutes of action and 13 league appearances this season, Liverpool with Gomez have conceded only four times. He also betters Van Dijk per minute played for tackles won and ball recoveries.