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Will it be Hendo or Virgil for the PFA Player of Year award?


CAPTAIN FANTASTIC: Jordan Henderson has shown his worth to Liverpool

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC: Jordan Henderson has shown his worth to Liverpool

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC: Jordan Henderson has shown his worth to Liverpool

There are two leading contenders for the PFA Player of the Year prize in a season dominated by the Liverpool winning machine.

Reds captain Jordan Henderson and last season's PFA award winner Virgil van Dijk are the two names I would be considering if I was getting voting forms through from the PFA and if pushed to make a pick, captain fantastic Henderson would win it by a short head.

It's often difficult to make a selection when footballers get the forms through from the PFA around this time of the year, as nothing has been decided at the top of the table, yet that problem has been removed this year.

It's been clear throughout this season that Liverpool are in a league of their own, with the 22-point advantage they have over their nearest rival confirming the player of the season has to come from Jurgen Klopp's squad and, for me, it feels like this is Henderson's moment.

He has developed so much as a player working with Klopp and his coaching staff, with the fans who used to berate him at Anfield being forced to accept he has become a vital cog in the success of this Liverpool team.

Henderson was often criticised for passing the ball sideways rather than forward and I must admit to being one of those who doubted whether he was good enough to lead Liverpool to success.

What people didn't appreciate was the fact he was merely carrying out Klopp's wishes by switching the ball from one side of the park as quickly as possible, as that is vital to how Liverpool try to get the opposition out of position.

Klopp always defended Henderson when the fans were on his back and now we are seeing the full package emerging before our eyes, with his ability to deliver killer passes and make surges forward to score goals all part of what he can offer. Central midfield was viewed as a weak spot in the Liverpool team during Klopp's first couple of years at the club and Henderson's perceived limitations were one of the reasons why people had come to that conclusion, but his image has been transformed in the last 18 months.

The platform provided by Liverpool's engine room featuring Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Fabinho is vital to how the team plays and you have to give the captain credit for silencing his doubters, to etch himself a place alongside the club's great captains.

Despite those words, you could still argue that Van Dijk is more important than anyone else to Liverpool and should, therefore, be PFA Player of the Year once again.

Adrian's fine performances at the start of the season confirmed that Liverpool can still get by in the absence of keeper Alisson Becker, but could their defence hold together if Van Dijk was injured for a lengthy period?


INDISPENSABLE: Would Liverpool be able to cope without Virgil van Dijk at the centre of their defence?

INDISPENSABLE: Would Liverpool be able to cope without Virgil van Dijk at the centre of their defence?

It is a question Klopp will not want to answer and that's why I suggest Van Dijk is even more crucial to Liverpool than Henderson.

The PFA members will also be asked to pick a team of the year and I'm wondering whether we might see the incredible sight of an all-Liverpool line-up named at the awards ceremony in April.

Looking at possible contenders for a Premier League dream team for this season, you would have to put the Liverpool quartet of keeper Alisson, centre-back Van Dijk and full-backs Trent Alexander Arnold, and Andy Robertson in defence.

It would be hard to pick a midfield without Henderson and Wijnaldum, with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah certainties to get into the forward line.

That's eight Liverpool players inked into the team and there is an argument that a few more members of Klopp's unbeaten league leaders could get into the line-up, but I'm guessing one or two players from rival teams might get into the mix.

Sheffield United have been sensational this season and their Ireland centre-back John Egan deserves a mention for the spare spot at heart of the defence if Liverpool's Joe Gomez does not get the nod alongside Van Dijk.

You would have to try and find a place for Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne, because he is a magnificent footballer and his team-mate Sergio Aguero could also be a contender for the forward line.

Leicester's Jamie Vardy might get a mention as his goal tally has been impressive this season, but you could quite justifiably name an all-Liverpool line-up for the team of the year and it would be hard to argue against that.

Of course, the big prizes Liverpool want are not handed out at the PFA awards as the Premier League and the Champions League are the ones they want and there is no reason why they can't get both of them in the Anfield trophy cabinet by the end of May.