Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp stands on the pitch during warmup before the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, England, Sunday, July 5, 2020. (Shaun Botterill/Pool via AP)
Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp stands on the pitch during warmup before the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, England, Sunday, July 5, 2020. (Shaun Botterill/Pool via AP)

Klopp's charisma, Becker's brilliance steal the show in EPL

By Mark Keohane Time of article published Aug 1, 2020

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Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)

The man of the moment is the manager and not the player. Klopp’s Liverpool backed up the anguish of 97 league points not being enough to win the title in 2018/19 to inspire his team to 99 league points and a first title for Liverpool in 30 years. Klopp’s Liverpool won the league with seven matches to play, finishing 18 points ahead of Manchester City and a staggering 33 points ahead of third placed Manchester United. The charismatic Klopp’s squad won 32 and drew three in 38 matches and in the past two seasons lost just four times in 76. His finest moment would also have been drunk calling legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson at 3.30 in the morning to let him know Liverpool had won the title. Fergie, who has mellowed in age, saw the humour in the call and also named Klopp his manager of the year.

Allison Becker (Liverpool)

If Klopp is my No 1 of the season then the No 1 player is the one wearing No 1 for Liverpool. Brazilian Allison Becker was the most influential individual in Liverpool’s club record-breaking Premier League champion season. Becker kept 13 clean sheets in 29 matches and conceded just one goal from a goalkeeping error. He made 58 saves to continue the brilliant goalkeeping form of the 2018/19 campaign when he kept 21 clean sheets in 38 matches and made 76 saves. Allison and Virgil van Dijk defensively were the glue to complement Liverpool’s fabulous attack.

Alisson Becker was a big part of Liverpool League success this season. Photo: Peter Powell/EPA

Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

The Dutchman, signed from Southampton for a record fee for a defender, was magnificent in Liverpool’s first Premier League title victory in 30 years. Liverpool, since Van Dijk’s arrival two seasons ago, were transformed defensively. What was once a weakness, became the singular strength of the most balanced team in the competition. Van Dijk, in the 2018/19 season, was outstanding and he was even better in the 2019/20 campaign. Van Dijk also became the fifth outfield player in Premier League history and the first in Liverpool’s Premier League history to appear in every minute of the Reds’ Premier League season.

Virgil van Dijk was the much needed addition for Liverpool at the back which helped them to their league success. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Reuters

Kevin de Bryne (Manchester City)

If you love football, you have to love watching the brilliance of the Belgium midfield master. There isn’t a more complete footballer in Britain and De Bryne’s all-round talent and class would only be second to the incomparable Lionel Messi. De Bryne, despite Manchester City’s inconsistencies, was the one consistent every time he played. He equalled Thierry Henry’s Premier League record for goal assists, but De Bryne’s impact can never be measured in statistics alone. If De Bryne is playing, be it for Manchester City or Belgium, then I want to tune in. He is of that rare breed of player, who forces you to watch a team you may have no interest in supporting.

If you love football, you have to love watching the brilliance of the Belgium midfield master. Photo: Dave Thompson/Reuters

Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

It was pretty much a coin toss between Jordan Henderson and Alexander-Arnold, but the local scouser edged his inspirational captain. Henderson epitomised everything that is wonderful about this Liverpool side, but Alexander-Arnold simply epitomises the club and it was fitting that a boy who joined the club as a six year-old, should be among the stars of Liverpool’s first Premier League title in 30 years. Alexander-Arnold is just 21 years-old, but he has already won the Premier League and the Champions League. His goalscoring assists, as a right back, are outrageous, with his 13 in the winning campaign beating his 12 in the 2018/19 Premier League season.

It was pretty much a coin toss between Jordan Henderson and Alexander-Arnold, but the local scouser edged his inspirational captain. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

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