Virgil van Dijk has beaten Raheem Sterling to become the PFA Players’ Player of the Year for 2019.
The official announcement is due on Thursday but the Liverpool centre-half has won the backing of his fellow professionals for his outstanding contribution in the best defence in the Premier League this season.
The Dutchman was on a six-man shortlist that included his Anfield team-mate Sadio Mane as well as Sterling, fellow Manchester City players Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard.
Victory for Van Dijk means the prize remains with Liverpool, following Mohamed Salah’s triumph last season.
Other Liverpool players to have been awarded the honour are Luis Suarez (2013-14), Steven Gerrard (2005-06), John Barnes (1987-88), Ian Rush (1983-84), Kenny Dalglish (1982-83) and Terry McDermott (1979-80).
The 2019 PFA Awards will be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on April 28.
Van Dijk has made 44 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool so far this season.
He will next be in action on Friday when his team travel to Huddersfield and if Manchester United take something off Manchester City on Wednesday evening, Liverpool will be in prime position to seal a first league title since 1990.
The Holland international joined Liverpool in January 2018 in a £75 million transfer from Southampton.