Liverpool FC took home the biggest prize in all of Europe back in June. And was we’ve rolled through this first month and a half of matches in the new campaign, Liverpool are continuing to bring home pieces of silverware tied directly to the Big Number 6 they’ve got firmly ensconced on the wall.
Yes, Liverpool were able to add the UEFA Super Cup to their list of triumphs as a squad with a win over Europa League titleholders, Chelsea. But what I’m referring to is the litany of individual accolades that have come in the immediate aftermath of Liverpool’s move back into the penthouse of European football royalty.
Last month, we saw Virgil Van Dijk lead the Liverpool charge by bringing home the UEFA Player of the Season award. This time around, the big center back is up for the same award except for the entirety of planet earth. Tonight, Virgil Van Dijk is on the shortlist to win the Player of the Year award, next to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were also nominated for this award but did not make the finalist’s stage.
Similarly nominated in their respective categories are Jurgen Klopp and Alisson Becker. The Liverpool Boss will be up against Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino. Alisson, meanwhile, is up against countryman Ederson and Barcelona’s Mark-Andre ter Stegen.
Lots of big names but looking at this list, it is of no surprise that both Klopp and Becker brought home the honors in their respective lists. Finishing second to one of the most expensive clubs ever built in the league is quite the feat, but then outlasting them and overcoming a Barcelona side with Lionel Messi in dramatic fashion en route to claiming a Champions League trophy has got to be the decider.
That leaves the more tantalizing and, potentially, the most tension-heavy of the awards: FIFA’s Men’s Player of the Year. The two-thirds of the finalists are your perennial favorites with Liverpool’s centerback being the long shot. That being said, Liverpool’s season return and the Dutchman having already taken home the UEFA award makes it so that VVD taking home the award would have made a lot of sense.
Unfortunately, the big centerback won’t be bringing home the big individual award this year as Lionel Messi, the favorite coming in any year that’s he's nominated to be fair, once more wins this category. No major matter as I’m sure the Dutchman would have pointed to individual awards being fun but not as meaningful as team awards.
Which, I guess, means that the only way to ensure VVD (or anyone not named Messi/Ronaldo) will win the award would be to win the league and the Champions League. So, the goal coming into this season. Let’s get after it then.
(_EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect the winner of the FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award._)