Van Dijk voted English soccer's player of the year

Man Utd missed out on the chance to sign Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk has hailed the influence of Jurgen Klopp and the wider team at Anfield, after winning the PFA Player of the Year award.

"Van Dijk is just the fourth defender to win the PFA Player's Player of the Year award and the first since 2004", PFA said in a statement.

Since signing from Southampton for a world record fee for a defender of £75 million (Dh356m) in January 2018, the Netherlands worldwide has made crucial contributions to the side, playing in all their Premier League games so far this season. Though Dijk has been proven to be worthy as he brought assertiveness and confidence to the club.

The Argentine talisman has scored 46 goals in all competitions this season, with ten of them coming in the Champions League, but Van Dijk does not fear Messi.

The Dutch global is the second Liverpool player in a row to win the award after forward Mohamed Salah past year and joins compatriots Dennis Bergkamp, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robin van Persie in claiming the honour.

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling, who was also in the running for the main award, had to settle for the Young Player of the Year prize. The defender is now the captain of Holland and at £75m the player still seems like a bargain for Liverpool. Elsewhere the reds have also reached the Champions League semi-final.

The Reds have only conceded 20 times in 36 games in the English top flight this season to challenge for the top-flight crown with Manchester City.

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"I think he is the best player in the world, I have said that before", Van Dijk continued.

"It's special, and I'm very proud and honoured to obviously win".

"If you see the shortlist and quality there is, it's very special that the players in the league voted for me".

"But because City play a good season as well, it's OK that a few of them are in the team!"

Van Dijk, who added that he is not thinking of battling Lionel Messi for the Ballon d'Or award, said his attention is firmly on Liverpool's remaining matches. His Liverpool teammate, Mohamed Salah, won the accolade last season. I think the best player in the world.

But Houghton has said she could miss the tournament in order to care for her husband, former Liverpool midfielder Stephen Darby, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease previous year.

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