We all knew that Liverpool have an incredible group of players fighting for the cause right now. It’s a golden era for the Reds, and every week we could pinpoint a new standout performance.
As it should be, many of these players were celebrated at Monday night’s annual Ballon d’Or award ceremony. Virgil van Dijk came within a hairsbreadth of winning the big award, but ultimately came just behind Lionel Messi. But Liverpool were well represented on the night. Four out of the top 10 finalists wear the Liverbird, including fourth placed Sadio Mane, fifth place Mohamed Salah, and seventh placed Alisson Becker. Roberto Firmino, Gini Wijnaldum, and Merseyside darling Trent Alexander-Arnold all made the top 26 finalists.
No one is more proud of these players than proud papa Jürgen Klopp, who took time to praise his players in the pre-Everton press conference on Tuesday.
“I have no clue how the others would have played nowadays - probably as well pretty exceptional, but Lionel is here now and he rightly so won it six times and Cristiano [Ronaldo] five times,” Klopp conceded.
“But the last season, if you really go for only that season, then I cannot remember a more impressive season of a defender ever, honestly. So it would’ve been right as well if Virg would have won it [and] now I heard it was pretty close. What Virg said afterwards is absolutely how he is as a person, fantastic.
“And the group of players: we won the Champions League, we played an outstanding season, we got 97 points. It’s normal that people see that. I’m really happy for them. I think No.17 or so was Trent? Who would have thought that three years ago?
“So it’s nice, but it’s last season. I think now pretty much all the awards are done and the boys can go for new awards, if they want.”
Andy Robertson and Fabinho, in particular, are making some serious cases for themselves, should they maintain their current form into next year. While the team is always the most important, seeing these players getting their hard work recognized is very rewarding.