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Van Dijk has become the first defender to win the PFA Player of the Year award since John Terry. Terry won it while at Chelsea in 2005. The Dutchman has been an inspiration since joining the club from Southampton. He was signed in a record-breaking £75million deal in January last year.

His presence at the back has helped Liverpool create the vicious defense in the Premier League as they go in search of a first league title since 1990. Van Dijk fought off strong competition from Manchester City winger Sterling for the main award. Fellow professional footballers voted after his own superb campaign at the Etihad.

Sterling’s City has the edge in what might be the most exciting title race of the Premier League era. Van Dijk has beaten him to the biggest individual honor of the season. This means Liverpool players have now won back-to-back awards. Mohamed Salah picked up the award last season.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Congratulations, VVD! 🙌 <a href="https://twitter.com/VirgilvDijk?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@VirgilvDijk</a> has been named as the <a href="https://twitter.com/PFA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PFA</a> Players’ Player of the Year. 👏 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PFAawards?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PFAawards</a> <a href="https://t.co/asSm60VFJS">pic.twitter.com/asSm60VFJS</a></p>— Liverpool FC (@LFC) <a href="https://twitter.com/LFC/status/1122616956723650562?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 28, 2019</a></blockquote><script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
With Van Dijk at the heart of their defense, Liverpool has kept a Premier League-high 20 clean sheets in 2018-19. He was the big favorite in the build-up to the ceremony. Van Dijk was pleased to be recognized by his fellow pros.

Van Dijk said, “It’s pretty difficult to put into words. I think it’s the greatest honor you can get as a player to get voted player of the year by the players you play against every week. It’s special. I’m very proud and honored to receive it.”

Van Dijk also took time to praise Liverpool defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson. They are included alongside him in the PFA Tem of the Year.

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