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Virgil van Dijk Named 2019 PFA Player of the Year over Raheem Sterling, More

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2019

Liverpool's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk acknowledges supporters  during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Huddersfield at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 26, 2019. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /         (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk was crowned 2019 PFA Player of the Year at a ceremony in London on Sunday, beating Manchester City's Raheem Sterling to the gong.

City duo Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva, Liverpool's Sadio Mane and Chelsea's Eden Hazard were also nominated for the prestigious gong, but Van Dijk came out on top:

PFA | Professional Footballers' Association @PFA

The #PFA Players’ Player of the Year 2019 @LFC and @OnsOranje defender @VirgilvDijk 🏆👏⚽️ #PFAawards #POTY https://t.co/BLq2TFt2vR

B/R Football @brfootball

The PFA Player of the Year goes to @VirgilvDijk 🏆 https://t.co/8G7lEkqskg

The centre-back is the first defender to win the award since John Terry in 2005 and the fourth Dutchman after Dennis Bergkamp, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robin van Persie.

Van Dijk, 27, signed for Liverpool from Southampton last January for £75 million, a world-record fee for a defender.

He has already shown he was worth the money, as his influence has transformed Liverpool from also-rans into genuine title challengers.

Liverpool could yet lose the title race this season despite accruing 91 points.

But manager Jurgen Klopp has formed a team that are capable of finally breaking Liverpool's 29-year title duck.

Establishing a world-class defence has been key to that.

This season Liverpool have conceded less than 0.6 goals per game in the Premier League.

Over the eight full Premier League seasons before the current campaign, that average was nearly 1.2.

Tightening up at the back has been crucial to Liverpool becoming title challengers, and Van Dijk's part in that transformation was acknowledged on Sunday.

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