Garth Crooks says wrong Liverpool player won Footballer of the Year after Mo Salah triumph


Garth Crooks has aired his surprise at Mohamed Salah taking home the Football of the Year award last week by claiming that his Liverpool team-mate Virgil van Dijk should have won the honour instead.

Salah garnered 48 per cent of the vote ahead of Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne and West Ham’s Declan Rice, who came second and third respectively. It was well-deserved for the Egyptian, who remains top scorer in the Premier League and has 44 goals involvements in 45 games for the Reds this season.

Not many people baulked at the decision given that Salah has played a huge part in firing Liverpool to a potential quadruple. But Crooks believes the vote should have been awarded to his team-mate Van Dijk – with the BBC pundit claiming that he is ‘the best defender in the world’.

“It’s not often I disagree with the choice of the esteemed Football Writers’ Association but I was rather taken aback by their decision to award Mohamed Salah this year’s honour of Footballer of the Year,” Crooks told the BBC. “The Liverpool striker is a superstar – of that there is no doubt – and he has had an impressive goal scoring season.

“However, Liverpool’s best player and, in my view, the Reds’ player of the season, is Virgil van Dijk. He should have won the award. Regular readers will not be surprised by my choice as the Liverpool defender features in my team almost on a weekly basis.

“That’s because Van Dijk is unquestionably the best defender in the world but he does not attract the same attention as Salah because it’s the Egyptian who scores the goals. I appreciate goal scorers better than anyone – my team of the week is often full of them. However this year the Football Writers’ Association has gone for the popular vote but not the right one.

“Salah is very capable of winning the Champions League title for Liverpool but he will need Van Dijk to be in the team.” The Reds face Villarreal on Tuesday evening as they look to reach their third Champions League final in just five years.


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