Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has joked his first reaction was to ask which of his players missed out on nomination for the 2019 Ballon d'Or after hearing his players received more votes than any other club.
The Reds topped the short list with seven nominees for the year-end award: Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Roberto Firmino, Alisson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Klopp, 52, led Liverpool to their first UEFA Champions League title in 14 years in May but said he pays less attention to the individual celebrations, per Goal:
"I heard we had seven nominees and my first question was, 'who is not nominated?'
"It is nice. I do not understand much about these kinds of things to be 100 percent honest - and what it means to the players. I know when you win it is big and if you don't it does not hurt too much. It is a very good sign and after last season and how we played it is normal that a lot of players have to be nominated if there are football experts."
The Mirror's David Maddock said Van Dijk remained the favourite from Anfield to win, while goalkeeper Alisson was in the hunt for multiple awards:
David Maddock @MaddockMirror
Virgil van Dijk odds-on favourite to win prestigious Ballon d'Or award, and record breaking SEVEN #LFC players short-listed. Mane, Salah, Firmino, Wijnaldum, Alexander-Arnold, also nominated along with Alisson, who is also selected for the Yashin goalkeeper trophy. #BallonDor
Between them, Premier League giants Liverpool and Manchester City—currently first and second in England's top flight, respectively—account for almost half of the 30 players short-listed, per BT Sport:
Klopp added that he was surprised not to see rivals City celebrated more at FIFA's The Best awards in September:
"To be honest I was surprised when I was at the other (FIFA) awards and no player from Man City was in that team because we all know they play really good football.
"Is this about playing in a specific tournament? Yes, it is important. Our seven players are all deserved.
"If it is a sign that we are a destination, I do not know. We will see. It looks like we are comfortable with each other. We want to work together for the next couple of years together or more but we will see what the future brings."
There, Messi was named The Best Men's Player for 2019—his second time winning the award and his first since 2015—but he could be prevented from adding further to his collection in the Ballon d'Or:
Netherlands star Van Dijk is hoping to become the first defender to win the gong since Italy legend Fabio Cannavaro did so in 2006. Lev Yashin is the only goalkeeper to take the Ballon d'Or (1963) in its history.
Liverpool's stars still have time before the final votes are cast for this season's awards ceremony, with the probabilities running in their favour to cap off a superbly successful 2019.