While the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Sadio Mané and Alisson Becker have rightly received plaudits after leading Liverpool to Champions League and Super Cup glory in 2019, players in less heralded roles in the world’s best football team have not always had the opportunity for individual recognition. It is therefore only fitting that each of the world class players in the squad gets their time in the spotlight, the most recent occasion being the announcement of UEFA’s Team of the Year 2019.
Five Reds were named after Jürgen Klopp’s side dispatched the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona on the way to a second consecutive trip the Champions League final and their sixth European Cup.
UEFA's Fans' Team of the Year of 2019 has been announced:— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 15, 2020
CB: De Ligt
CB: Van Dijk
CM: De Jong
CM: De Bruyne
LW: Mané pic.twitter.com/QWRXTNIhWP
Yachine Trophy winner, Alisson was the easy choice between the sticks while arguably only injury to Joe Gomez prevented an all-Liverpool back line as Ballon d’Or runner up Virgil Van Dijk was flanked by Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, with both full backs announcing their candidacies as arguably the best the game has to offer in their respective positions.
Barcelona’s Frenkie De Jong and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne made up the midfield, while CAF African Player of the Year, Mané partnered with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronald in attack.
It was the most logical XI and the only controversy really was that more Reds didn’t make the cut. Actually, there was one other controversy, with The Mail’s Mike Keegan reporting that UEFA had shoehorned Ronaldo into the XI as a fourth forward as part of a lopsided 4-2-4 formation despite him ending up behind Messi, Mané and Lewandowski in the fan voting for attackers. The decision by UEFA to include the popular Portuguese forward came at the expense of Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante in midfield.