(Reuters) – Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp said he would be disappointed if defender Virgil van Dijk missed out on the Professional Footballers’ Association’s (PFA) Player of the Year award as he has had an “outstanding season”.
Dutchman Van Dijk has transformed Liverpool’s defence since joining the club from Southampton in Jan. 2018, and has been key in the Merseyside club keeping 18 clean sheets in the league this season.
The 27-year-old has missed just 35 minutes Premier League action all season as Liverpool edge closer to a first top division title in 29 years.
“Would I feel sad if Van Dijk doesn’t win Player of the Year? For him yes, of course,” he told reporters.
“He’s had an outstanding season. Will he have deserved it? Of course. It was last season when (Manchester City’s) Kevin De Bruyne and (Liverpool’s) Mo Salah both played unbelievable seasons and Mo won it.
“We were happy about that and not because De Bruyne lost it, because he would have deserved it as well. I think it is the same again in this case.”
Van Dijk is one of the six players in the running for the award alongside team mate Sadio Mane, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Manchester City trio Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva.
The winners, voted for by the PFA members, will be announced on April 28.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)