Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk. Richard Sellers

Do you agree with our Player of the Premier League season so far?

We are working off the assumption that the 2019/20 season restarts at some point.

OKAY, IT LOOKS more likely that the 2019/20 Premier League season will restart at some point than be voided, but while we wait this awful wait, let’s take a look back at the season we’ve had to this point. 

We’re going to pick our Signing, Moment, Goal, and Flop of the season throughout this week, but let’s start with the best player of the year gong. 

We will come to the winner in a moment, but here are the contenders. 

Commenters, start your engines…

The Contenders 

Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

You can’t accuse Alexander-Arnold of a lack of ambition, given his stated aim is to change what it means to be a full-back. Although he is still only 21, he is already well on his way to doing exactly that. Alexander-Arnold has more assists than anyone since the start of last season, and was probably the best player in Liverpool’s best performance of the season, scoring once and assisting the other three goals in the Stephen’s Day defenestration of Leicester City. He could genuinely eclipse Steven Gerrard as the greatest Scouser to play for Liverpool. 

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

sheffield-united-v-manchester-city-premier-league-bramall-lane Kevin De Bruyne. PA PA

With his compatriot Eden Hazard now in Spain, De Bruyne can now lay claim to being the best player in the Premier League. While City have had their problems this season – largely at centre-half and the back of midfield – De Bruyne has been regal, scoring eight goals and creating another 18 (!) in 26 appearances. 

Adama Traore (Wolves) 

If you forgive the delicate semantics: if De Bruyne is the best player to watch in the League, then Traore may just be the most thrilling to watch. Traore is the closest thing the League has to a supernova: he explodes into view and lays waste to much of the clutter around him when he does so. 

He shredded the Liverpool defence at Molineux having done the same trick twice to Manchester City earlier in the season, and has added more efficiency to his game this season, with four goals and seven assists across 28 matches. 

One of the few players in the league worth watching every time he gets the ball. 

Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)

Henderson’s importance to Liverpool has traditionally been underlined when he isn’t there.

Remember the run-in to the 2013/14 season? Steven Gerrard’s slipping a fortnight after he had warned his team-mates that this must not, in fact, slip will always be the enduring memory of that title miss, but Liverpool were also undermined by the fact Henderson was suspended for three of their final four games having been sent off against Manchester City. 

This time around, Henderson twanged a hamstring against Atletico Madrid and missed Liverpool’s only real dip in form of the season, including their only league defeat to date. 

Prior to that he had been terrific, arguably at his most impressive when reverting to his unfavoured defensive midfield role during Fabinho’s injury absence. 

Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

Has any signing ever made such an immediate transformation as Van Dijk on Liverpool’s previously clown-car defence? He hasn’t been quite as impeccable this season as he had been last year – he was poor in that defeat to Watford and Liverpool’s clean sheet record isn’t as good as last year – but he remains the best defender in England if not Europe and was central to a run of 10 clean sheets in 11 games around the turn of the year. 

Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)

jack-grealish-file-photo Jack Grealish. Nick Potts Nick Potts

It is harsh to exclude a Sheffield United player given their stunning season, but it’s probably more impressive to star in a disjointed team than it is to excel in a slick machine. Hence we are going to give Grealish the nod here, who has been outstanding throughout the season for a Villa side that would be doomed to relegation without him. 

Grealish is the most-fouled player in the league, and has either scored or created 13 of Villa’s 34 goals. 

His presence has given them a fighting chance of staying up, and even if they do drop down, the chances are that he won’t be taking a step down with them. 

The Winner 

Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

Mo Salah won it two years ago, Van Dijk last year, and now we reckon it’s Mane’s turn to win the Player of the Year gong.

He has become arguably the most important of Liverpool’s front three this season: when Lionel Messi is picking you as his Ballon D’Or winner, you know you’re doing something right. 

He has been vital to Liverpool this season: of his 14 goals, eight have come in one-goal wins, and he also won match-winning penalties in home games against Leicester and Spurs. 

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