Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has been named the Football Writers' Association's (FWA) Footballer of the Year.

The Reds won the Premier League title with seven games to spare, ending a 30-year wait for their 19th top-flight championship.

Playing arguably the best football of his career, England midfielder Henderson was influential in leading the side in a dominant campaign.

The FWA revealed Henderson, who has been out with a knee injury since early July, secured more than a quarter of the votes.

Team-mates Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane were in contention, along with Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne and Manchester United's Marcus Rashford. Liverpool pair Alisson and Trent Alexander-Arnold also had votes cast in their favour.

Henderson said: "I'd like to say how appreciative I am of the support of those who voted for me and the Football Writers' Association in general.

"You only have to look at the past winners of it - a number of whom I've been blessed to play with here at Liverpool, like Stevie [Gerrard], Luis [Suarez] and Mo [Salah] - to know how prestigious it is.

"But as grateful as I am, I don't feel like I can accept this on my own. I don't feel like anything I've achieved this season or in fact during my whole career has been done on my own.

"I owe a lot to so many different people – but none more so than my current team-mates, who have just been incredible and deserve this every bit as much as I do.

"We've only achieved what we've achieved because every single member of our squad has been brilliant."

The 30-year-old, who joined Liverpool in a £20million move from boyhood club Sunderland in 2011, has scored four goals in 30 league appearances this season.

As well as the domestic title, Henderson helped the Reds to lift the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup, building on the success of their 2018-19 Champions League triumph.

Off the pitch, Henderson was also a key figure in the formation of the #PlayersTogether initiative, a fund for Premier League players to raise money for the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has been named the Football Writers' Association's (FWA) Footballer of the Year.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are good enough to play for Real Madrid in Nicolas Anelka's eyes, though the Frenchman has advised the pair to remain with Liverpool.

Attacking pair Salah and Mane have been instrumental this season for a Reds side that cantered to a first English title in 30 years.

Salah has scored 19 times in the Premier League and supplied nine assists, while Mane has two fewer goals and assists, the duo proving productive when flanking centre-forward Roberto Firmino.

Such statistics are sure to have piqued the interest of Real Madrid, yet Anelka, who spent one underwhelming campaign with Los Blancos in 1999-00 after impressing in the Premier League with Arsenal, feels Liverpool is the best place for both Salah and Mane.

"It's an amazing front three," Anelka told the Liverpool Echo.

"I love them all, especially Roberto Firmino because he is the key for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane's success.

"Salah and Mane are ranking in the top five best players in the world right now. They have the quality to play for Real Madrid.

"But today Liverpool can compete with Real Madrid so they don't need to move. Liverpool is very much the place to be."

Anelka returned to England in 2001, joining Liverpool on a short-term loan deal from Paris Saint-Germain.

The Reds finished second in the campaign he spent at Anfield and the Frenchman expects them to be perennial contenders under Jurgen Klopp.

"Jurgen Klopp is a genius," Anelka added.

"I love his work, the way he is with his players and the players he has signed. They're top-class players.

"They'll be competitive for many years. Klopp has brought the club back to where it deserves."

Jurgen Klopp saluted Mohamed Salah ahead of a Liverpool milestone, but acknowledged he did not expect the Egyptian and his fellow forwards to be as effective as they have become.

Salah joined the Reds from Roma three years ago in a deal that reportedly cost an initial £34million.

In 105 Premier League matches, Salah – who is generally deployed from the right – has scored 73 goals, including a record-setting 32 in 2017-18.

The Egypt star has helped turned Liverpool into European and domestic champions, his understanding with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in attack making them a deadly trio that has scored 250 times under Klopp.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's trip to Arsenal, in which Salah is expected to make his 150th appearance, Klopp said: "First and foremost, that means he played 50 games a year, each season, 50 games, and still counting. Unbelievable. That's a big number.

"Obviously he was lucky and we were lucky that he could play all these games, because he was not injured, which is good.

"I was very positive in the moment when it was clear that we signed him. I remember our talk, when we first met face to face, when we spoke.

"'What's your favourite position?' 'It would be right wing, but Sadio Mane is playing there and he played a pretty good season.' 'Yes, he does, but he can play the other wing as well.'

"That was pretty much the start. The idea was clear how we want to play with the boys up front, but it worked out in a manner which we couldn't have expected. They scored now 250 goals since they [joined the club], that's an incredible number.

"It was a good day for Liverpool [when Salah signed] and a very good day as well for Mo because it fits really well and that's very important in life. You cannot change the world alone, but together, with the right people around you, you have a better chance to do it."

Salah's future seems certain to lie at Anfield, and Dejan Lovren appears likely to stay put for the time being as well.

The 31-year-old has been a fringe player this season, but Klopp insists he still appreciates what the Croatian offers.

Although the German would not comment specifically on reports the Reds are to trigger a one-year extension option to keep Lovren until 2022, it seems a departure is unlikely.

"Dejan played outstanding games for us, is a very important part of the squad, absolutely no problem," Klopp said.

"It's always like this – we have four centre-halves and we play usually with two of them, but we needed all four always, so a very, very important role. He played the Champions League final for us, played a lot of big games, and was always a very reliable player.

"Dejan was always either in the team or close to the team, or not available. There was nothing else, we never had problems. It's all good, but [I've] nothing to say about the contract situation because it's nothing to discuss in public. It's just how it is.

"The situation is absolutely clear – Dejan is a player of Liverpool and we need him. In this moment again, with Joel [Matip] injured we have again only three centre-halves.

"You need the quality we have on the centre-half position to be successful, and that's why there's nothing really to discuss."

Jurgen Klopp championed Jordan Henderson as an "inspiration" to future Liverpool captains after taking over the armband following Reds great Steven Gerrard's departure and leading the club to an historic Premier League title.

When Brendan Rodgers appointed Henderson as his skipper in 2015, it appeared a daunting task for the former Sunderland midfielder because of who he was replacing.

Gerrard had been club captain for 12 years and became a homegrown hero having joined the Reds' academy as a nine-year-old, but he opted to spend the final year of his career in MLS with LA Galaxy.

Many felt it was a significant step down for Liverpool, with Henderson a player who has often polarised opinion in terms of his abilities.

But he remained an important player even following Rodgers' departure, which came shortly after handing Henderson the armband, with Klopp retaining him as the team's leader.

Although a knee injury will prevent Henderson from seeing out the final weeks of the 2019-20 season, he has still led the club to a maiden Premier League title and first top-flight crown in 30 years, and Klopp feels it highlights he has been a success in replacing Gerrard.

When asked if the Premier League triumph makes Henderson one of the club's all-time great captains, Klopp said: "He is, absolutely, but you know all the other captains of this football club.

"So, he's the only captain I've had here, so I'm overly happy this decision was made before I came in, so it's cool.

"How it always is in life, you have to grow in new roles, he had to do that. It was the most difficult job you can have, to enhance, because honestly, in whatever manner, the person doing the job after Steven was always going to be difficult, but he grew into the role and now I think he's an inspiration for the next generation of Liverpool skippers.

"And it's nice to be part of this development as well, because he became a man age-wise and then a real, proper captain and that's how it should be, and on top of that he improved as a player.

"He was always a good player but he made big steps in his game as well, and that's why you are massively under pressure from outside, expectations and stuff like this, it's a pretty interesting achievement I have to say, it's not easy to do, and he did it, so he should - after his career, when he looks back – have lots of reasons to be proud."

With Liverpool already champions, there is little left for the Reds to play for as a collective, but some players are still in with a chance of claiming individual prizes.

Alisson is in the hunt for the Golden Glove, while Mohamed Salah – and, to a lesser extent, Sadio Mane – are outside bets for the Golden Boots.

While Klopp would not want too much emphasis to be put on such accolades, he does acknowledge their importance and he feels they would reflect the success of the team.

Liverpool face Burnley at Anfield on Saturday.

"If Ali wins the Golden Glove, that means we have obviously - I don't know how many games - have a [lot of] clean sheets, which would really help us," Klopp said. "And if we provide the winner of the Golden Boot, it means we have a lot of goals, and that helps, absolutely.

"I'm not in doubt of that. My players don't need individual targets to be highly motivated, but they [the awards] don't disturb, they're absolutely helpful rather than anything else, but in the end it's all about winning a football match, that's what the boys really want.

"If it was different, I would tell them it's not okay. Personal accolades are important, really important, but it's always first and foremost about winning matches, not about the other stuff, but it's nice when you can win both."

Jurgen Klopp is overjoyed with the consistency Mohamed Salah has shown since joining Liverpool, though he does not believe his team-mates are deliberately trying to set the Egyptian up to help his Golden Boot chances. 

Salah, 28, arrived at Anfield from Roma in 2017 for a reported initial fee of £37million, and he has since made that figure look like a real steal, such has been his impact. 

In 104 Premier League matches for Liverpool, Salah has scored 73 times, with 32 of those coming in 2017-18 as he set a new record for the most goals in a single 38-match campaign. 

While his haul of 19 this campaign may not be on the same level, he is the champions' top-scorer and remains in the hunt for the Premier League's Golden Boot, with only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (20) and Jamie Vardy (22) netting more frequently than him. 

But, given Salah often plays off the flank, his record is an impressive one and that is not lost on Klopp. 

"It's incredible," Klopp told reporters on Friday ahead of Saturday's visit of Burnley. "We wouldn't be where we are if these boys [Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino] didn't perform at such a consistently high level. 

"And Mo, of course, his numbers are crazy. I don't know his exact numbers since he's been here, but they're just outstanding numbers, world class numbers. 

"No one should be surprised anymore because, the boys show that week in, week out for a while already, we know it's special but there's a lot of work in it, and we can only score if you're invested in each game, if you're in the right positions, do the right things. 

"If the boys are ready to do what they have to do, it will continue, and long may it continue." 

Salah's most recent goals – two of them – came in Wednesday's 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion, but his record has not protected him from criticism. 

Graeme Souness, a former Red who is now a television pundit, called Salah "super selfish" after the Brighton game for attempting eight shots, while some suggested other Liverpool players are passing up scoring opportunities of their own in attempt to help the former Chelsea forward.

But Klopp doubts his players have that approach, convinced the front three want to score all the time. 

"I hope the boys were not in that mood," Klopp said when asked about whether he felt Firmino passed on a chance just so Salah could boost his Golden Boot bid. 

"When I saw the situation back it was just because of Bobby's [Firmino] football intelligence, he wasn't in the best position. 

"If he'd shot it would be a completely different finish, Mo came around was in a much better place - it's just Bobby. 

"I don't think he left the ball because he thinks Mo should win the Golden Boot or whatever. You cannot have this mindset, football is too quick for you to do that. 

"We all help each other. Mane is another contender [for the Golden Boot], with 16 it's not too close but it's not impossible, so they all want to score goals. Bobby wants to score goals, they all want that. 

"That's the mindset they need, that they want to be decisive, they want to decide football games and that's the mindset a striker needs." 

Mohamed Salah is motivated to win the Premier League Golden Boot again, according to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Salah netted a brace as Liverpool beat Brighton and Hove Albion 3-1 on Wednesday, moving the champions onto 92 points this season.

The forward has won the past two Premier League Golden Boots, sharing last season's with Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Klopp said the prize was again a motivation for the Egypt international, who has 19 league goals this season, trailing Leicester City star Jamie Vardy (22) and Arsenal forward Aubameyang (20).

"He's a striker, how can it not be a motivation for him? That's clear," he told a news conference.

"In the last two years he won the golden boot, last year he shared it with Sadio and with Auba. That's always important, it's important for Sadio and all that stuff is normal.

"In the end you can only score goals when you perform well and he did that so that was really good and apart from that it's all fine.

"If you are too focused on goals, not that they are, but if you are too focused on goals you don't move enough that you can be in the right situations but the goals he scored were really good and he had a lot to move and score the goals. That's nice, could have scored more, that's true, but that's pretty much all."

Salah became just the fourth Liverpool player to reach 100 goal involvements in the Premier League, with 73 goals and 27 assists in 104 appearances.

He has 94 goals for Liverpool, and alongside Mane (79) and Roberto Firmino (77) the trio have delivered 250 for the club in all competitions.

Klopp said: "Two hundred and fifth goals by the way is exceptional. Imagine where I would be if these boys would not play for me. Wow.

"The situation minus 250 goals!"

Liverpool's next outing is at home to Burnley on Saturday.

Mohamed Salah joined a trio of Liverpool legends in a prestigious club as he played a starring role in a 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

The Egypt international scored twice as the Premier League champions recorded their first away triumph since February 15, moving on to 92 points with four games remaining.

Salah steered the visitors in front in the sixth minute and then assisted Jordan Henderson's goal that arrived just 127 seconds later, laying the ball off for the Liverpool captain to curl a shot beyond Mat Ryan.

Leandro Trossard halved the deficit before the break, but Salah made sure of victory when he headed in Andy Robertson's corner, taking his tally in the league this season to 19 goals.

He has also now reached 100 goal involvements for Liverpool in the Premier League, tallying 73 goals and 27 assists to achieve the feat in only 104 appearances.

Only three players have reached the milestone previously for the Reds. Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler achieved the century in 148 and 158 games respectively, while Steven Gerrard's landmark came up in his 212th outing.

Jurgen Klopp's side also created history at Brighton by winning for the 30th time in their 34th Premier League fixture this season. No other side has reached that tally as quickly in the history of the English Football League.

Liverpool will take to the field at Manchester City on Thursday as Premier League champions.

The Reds' 30-year wait to reign supreme in England's top flight came to an end when City were beaten by Chelsea last week.

Becoming champions with seven matches to spare underlines the dominant nature of a campaign masterminded by the brilliant Jurgen Klopp.

As such, a host of Liverpool players are expected to be in the running for the end-of-season awards.

But which of Klopp's heroes has been the most important to the cause? Here, our writers pick out who has been the star turn and state their case.

 

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD – Dom Farrell

The majestic front three and the defensive solidity acquired through the astute big-money purchases of Alisson and Virgil van Dijk are the twin pillars of this Liverpool triumph, but Trent Alexander-Arnold gives them their x-factor. Shut down Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino if you can, but then find yourself terrorised by a lavishly talented youngster who might yet redefine what the modern full-back looks like.

Lethal from both open play and dead ball situations, the 21-year-old has been the Reds' main creative force this term and it's not even particularly close. Andy Robertson is second to Alexander-Arnold's 12 assists with eight, while the right-back's 78 chances created dwarf the next best return – 49 from Salah.

VIRGIL VAN DIJK – Ryan Benson

Van Dijk has been the one ever-present for Liverpool this season, starting every single Premier League match. The Dutchman leads the way for clean sheets in the division with 14.

Throughout the campaign he has been the ultimate assuring presence at the back, from his exceptional reading of the game, dominant physicality and fine technical ability. While Salah, Mane and Firmino may be responsible for most of the goals, they would also be significantly worse off without Van Dijk, whose impact at Anfield continues to amaze.

JORDAN HENDERSON – Rob Lancaster

If Van Dijk is the Rolls Royce at the back and the forward trio are sports cars capable of going from 0-60mph in a hurry, Jordan Henderson is the equivalent to a five-door family hatchback. Flashy? No. Supremely reliable? Absolutely. 

Under Klopp, the Reds' win percentage is almost 13 per cent higher (68.8 per cent compared to 56) when Henderson plays. Their only league defeat so far this season, away to Watford, came without the skipper in the line-up.

The midfielder has contributed in attack, providing five assists and grabbing three goals in 2019-20, but that's not his major purpose. Henderson knows his role and plays it to perfection, serving as the manager's on-field lieutenant as he passes and presses relentlessly to help break opposition teams down. Having lifted the Champions League last season, now he has captained Liverpool to domestic glory too.

SADIO MANE – Joe Wright

It's often said the mark of champions is to win not just when playing well, but when victory seems beyond you. Sometimes – if not often – Liverpool have been up against it and in need of a saviour. More often than not, that saviour has been Sadio Mane. 

Mane has been Liverpool's most impressive attacking player all season, his all-round game now honed to a frighteningly high level that has produced 15 goals and seven assists. Those goals have been undeniably crucial, yielding 18 points in 2019-20, a tally nobody in the Premier League can better. If ever Liverpool looked likely to falter, Mane's goals kept them on course.

MOHAMED SALAH – Liam Blackburn

Salah's prolific debut season following his arrival from Roma – he scored 44 goals in all competitions in 2017-18 – raised the bar ridiculously high. Even in the previous campaign, no one scored more in the Premier League than the Egyptian's 22 and he is once again Liverpool's leading marksman in 2019-20.  

His total of 21 goals in all competitions sees him average one every 146 minutes, while no one in the Premier League has scored more than Salah's seven match-winners.

However, Salah is about more than just goals. He has created 49 chances and provided seven assists. Liverpool's struggles to break down a stubborn Everton defence when the 28-year-old remained on the bench throughout their first game after the lockdown only underlined his importance.

Having finally ended their wait for a breakthrough Premier League title, Liverpool will face the team they dethroned as champions, Manchester City, on Thursday.

Jurgen Klopp's men led the way as early as August and never relinquished their grasp on first place.

Unlike in the near misses in 2008-09, 2013-14 and 2018-19, the Reds would not be caught, with Manchester City and the rest of the Premier League trailing in their wake as they secured top-flight silverware for the first time since 1990.

They will receive a guard of honour at the Etihad Stadium, with City's 2-1 loss at Chelsea last week clinching the championship.e

However, there were a number of key results along the way. We take a look.
 

Norwich City 3-2 Manchester City - September 14

Pep Guardiola's side blinked first in the title race. Although City had already dropped points at home to Tottenham before visiting Norwich, it appeared the defending champions would again match Liverpool stride for stride. But one of the upsets of the season sent shockwaves through the division in matchweek five.

City lost Aymeric Laporte to a knee ligament injury the previous weekend, and John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi endured a miserable evening as Kenny McLean, Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki scored at Carrow Road. Liverpool had earlier come from behind to beat Newcastle United, establishing a strong early advantage.

Sheffield United 0-1 Liverpool - September 28

Liverpool did eventually drop points for the first time against Manchester United in October, but their winning start continued to that point despite a serious test against newly promoted Sheffield United.

The Blades have been a surprise package this season and were perhaps good value for a point against Klopp's men, only for an uncharacteristic error by goalkeeper Dean Henderson - on loan from rivals United - to gift Georginio Wijnaldum a precious 70th-minute winner.

Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool - November 2

It is often said that the best teams win even when they do not play well, and the victory at Sheffield United was far from unique in that sense. Indeed, at Villa Park, Liverpool were heading for defeat until the 87th minute.

However, Andy Robertson stole in for a late equaliser, and then Sadio Mane incredibly clinched victory in the fourth minute of stoppage time. It was the second such comeback from the Reds in two weeks, having previously rallied against Tottenham at Anfield in a crucial stretch that included a dramatic win over Leicester City and their 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

Liverpool 3-1 Manchester City - November 10

And eight days on from the win at Villa, Liverpool increased their lead at the top of the table to eight points with victory over City, who were left a further point back in fourth. With the Reds' failure to beat Guardiola's side home or away in 2018-19 proving costly, this success represented a huge boost.

The match was not without its controversies, however, as City fumed at an apparent Trent Alexander-Arnold handball in the build-up to Fabinho's opener. The right-back looked to be guilty of the same offence again late in the game, with no penalty given, as Mohamed Salah and Mane also netted in a mammoth triumph.

Liverpool 2-0 Watford - December 14

Along with the run of fixtures leading into that City game, December represented a key spell for Liverpool as their title bid was disrupted by the Club World Cup. Watford would be the side to finally beat the Reds in February and, in the final match before the FIFA tournament, they gave it a good go at Anfield, too.

Nigel Pearson's first game in charge of the Hornets saw Liverpool troubled throughout, and not until Salah struck his second in the 90th minute were the points made safe.

Leicester City 0-4 Liverpool - December 26

Liverpool won the Club World Cup in Qatar, but it was like they had never been away when their league campaign resumed on Boxing Day. Leicester were second when the teams met but were blown away on their own patch.

Roberto Firmino opened the scoring before the break and then netted again, along with James Milner and Alexander-Arnold, in a ruthless eight-minute second-half spell. City lost at Wolves the following day - their second defeat of December - and the title race already looked to have been run.

Tottenham 2-0 Manchester City - February 2

Liverpool were relentless over the festive period, and their rivals' struggles meant Klopp's side could even afford a slow restart following the February mid-season break. Any slim City hopes of a spectacular pursuit of the Anfield club were surely already over in defeat at Tottenham prior to the weekend off.

Ilkay Gundogan missed a penalty, Oleksandr Zinchenko was sent off, and Steven Bergwijn and Son Heung-min netted. Bernardo Silva subsequently moaned City "gave up a bit too soon" in the title race. When Guardiola's men went down 2-0 again at Manchester United a month later, Liverpool were on the brink.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's achievement of scoring 50 goals in 77 Premier League games for Arsenal makes him the sixth fastest player in the competition's history to hit the half-century milestone.

That Aubameyang arrived at 50 goals in fewer league matches than the likes of Sergio Aguero and Thierry Henry tells you just how prolific the Gabon international has been since his arrival from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018.

Aubameyang's landmark goal, which arrived for Arsenal against Norwich City on Wednesday, is made all the more remarkable by the fact that he has not been playing in a particularly successful team during his time at Emirates Stadium, with the Gunners finishing sixth in his first season, fifth in his second, and starting the day in 10th as they faced the Canaries.

The five players to have reached 50 Premier League goals in fewer matches than Aubameyang all did so in teams challenging at the top end of the table, and all with very distinct goal-scoring styles.
 

Andy Cole – 65 games

After scoring 12 goals when Newcastle United were promoted as Division One champions in 1992-93, Andy Cole plundered 34 in 40 top flight games to help Kevin Keegan's side finish third in the table the following season.

A real six-yard box striker who could also finish from distance and beat defenders for pace, he netted another nine Premier League goals for the Magpies before joining Manchester United, where he took his top-flight tally to 50 before the end of the 1994-95 season.

Alan Shearer – 66 games

Alan Shearer reached 50 Premier League goals during Blackburn Rovers' title-winning campaign in 1994-95, having netted 47 goals in 62 games in the two seasons prior.

Shearer's matchless eye for goal and thunderously powerful shot helped him to 34 goals in 42 matches as Rovers became champions, and he passed the 100 mark just a year later.

Ruud van Nistelrooy – 68 games

Ruud van Nistelrooy cost Manchester United £19million when he joined the club from PSV ahead of the 2001-02 season and he quickly set about repaying their faith in him.

The Netherlands international netted 23 Premier League goals in 32 games in his first season, followed by a further 25 in 34 games in 2002-03.

He then passed 50 in the 2003-04 season on his way to scoring 20 goals in 32 matches as United were beaten to the title by Arsenal.

Fernando Torres – 72

More similar to Aubameyang in terms of playing style than any of the players listed above, Fernando Torres scored his 50th Premier League goal during his third season as a Liverpool player.

It was a season that would end with Torres becoming a World Cup winner with Spain, but it was not a happy one for the Reds, who finished seventh in the table despite Torres' 18 goals in 22 games, and the striker left the club to join Chelsea part way through the following campaign.

Mohamed Salah – 72

Mohamed Salah scored his 50th Premier League goal during a 4-3 victory over Crystal Palace in April 2019, becoming the second-fastest player to reach the milestone in terms of minutes played.

Only Shearer, who netted a half-century in 5,337 minutes for Blackburn, reached the landmark in a shorter on-pitch timespan than free-scoring Reds forward Salah, who did so in 5,374 minutes of play following his £34m transfer from Roma.

Mohamed Salah thanked Liverpool's fans after the club claimed a first league title since 1990.

Liverpool celebrated their first English top-flight success in 30 years following Manchester City's 2-1 Premier League defeat to Chelsea on Thursday.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool – who have only lost once in the league this season – cannot be caught atop the table with seven matches remaining in 2019-20.

Liverpool narrowly missed out on ending their drought last season, finishing just a point behind City, and star forward Salah revelled in the team's triumph this term.

Salah wrote via Twitter: "Yes. It feels THAT good. I want to thank all our supporters watching us from all corners of the world.

"You made this possible for us and I hope we can keep bringing you the joy you deserve. Now they're gonna believe us."

Liverpool, who claimed the 2018-19 Champions League, have won 28 of their 31 Premier League matches this season.

"As a squad we're so close. We love coming in to training every single day. If somebody is having a bad game, we dig them out of a hole and we stick together on the pitch, we stick together off the pitch – that's why this squad is so special. I love being a part of it," Liverpool full-back Andy Robertson told Liverpoolfc.com.

"We're all kind of brothers and we have a dad figure in the gaffer and he's the one that leads us in the right direction. Him and his staff have been second to none, to be fair, since I've came here. This season they've been excellent to us going, keep us hungry, keep us motivated.

"Motivation has never been a struggle. As players we've always been hungry and we always wanted to win trophies for this club. Luckily, we're now showing that in the last 12 months."

Manchester City's 2-1 defeat at Chelsea on Thursday saw Liverpool crowned Premier League champions.

It ends a 30-year wait to reign supreme in England's top flight for the Anfield club and means Jurgen Klopp's stars will be rightly celebrated.

Becoming champions with seven matches to spare underlines the dominant nature of a campaign masterminded by their brilliant manager.

As such, a host of Liverpool players are expected to be in the running for the end-of-season awards.

But which of Klopp's heroes has been the most important to the cause? Here, our writers pick out who has been the star turn and state their case.

 

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD – Dom Farrell

The majestic front three and the defensive solidity acquired through the astute big-money purchases of Alisson and Virgil van Dijk are the twin pillars of this Liverpool triumph, but Trent Alexander-Arnold gives them their x-factor. Shut down Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino if you can, but then find yourself terrorised by a lavishly talented youngster who might yet redefine what the modern full-back looks like.

Lethal from both open play and dead ball situations, the 21-year-old has been the Reds' main creative force this term and it's not even particularly close. Andy Robertson is second to Alexander-Arnold's 12 assists with eight, while the right-back's 78 chances created dwarf the next best return – 49 from Salah.

VIRGIL VAN DIJK – Ryan Benson

Van Dijk has been the one ever-present for Liverpool this season, starting every single Premier League match. The Dutchman leads the way for clean sheets in the division with 14.

Throughout the campaign he has been the ultimate assuring presence at the back, from his exceptional reading of the game, dominant physicality and fine technical ability. While Salah, Mane and Firmino may be responsible for most of the goals, they would also be significantly worse off without Van Dijk, whose impact at Anfield continues to amaze.

JORDAN HENDERSON – Rob Lancaster

If Van Dijk is the Rolls Royce at the back and the forward trio are sports cars capable of going from 0-60mph in a hurry, Jordan Henderson is the equivalent to a five-door family hatchback. Flashy? No. Supremely reliable? Absolutely. 

Under Klopp, the Reds' win percentage is almost 13 per cent higher (68.8 per cent compared to 56) when Henderson plays. Their only league defeat so far this season, away to Watford, came without the skipper in the line-up.

The midfielder has contributed in attack, providing five assists and grabbing three goals in 2019-20, but that's not his major purpose. Henderson knows his role and plays it to perfection, serving as the manager's on-field lieutenant as he passes and presses relentlessly to help break opposition teams down. Having lifted the Champions League last season, now he has captained Liverpool to domestic glory too.

SADIO MANE – Joe Wright

It's often said the mark of champions is to win not just when playing well, but when victory seems beyond you. Sometimes – if not often – Liverpool have been up against it and in need of a saviour. More often than not, that saviour has been Sadio Mane. 

Mane has been Liverpool's most impressive attacking player all season, his all-round game now honed to a frighteningly high level that has produced 15 goals and seven assists. Those goals have been undeniably crucial, yielding 18 points in 2019-20, a tally nobody in the Premier League can better. If ever Liverpool looked likely to falter, Mane's goals kept them on course.

MOHAMED SALAH – Liam Blackburn

Salah's prolific debut season following his arrival from Roma – he scored 44 goals in all competitions in 2017-18 – raised the bar ridiculously high. Even in the previous campaign, no one scored more in the Premier League than the Egyptian's 22 and he is once again Liverpool's leading marksman in 2019-20.  

His total of 21 goals in all competitions sees him average one every 146 minutes, while no one in the Premier League has scored more than Salah's seven match-winners.

However, Salah is about more than just goals. He has created 49 chances and provided seven assists. Liverpool's struggles to break down a stubborn Everton defence when the 28-year-old remained on the bench throughout their first game after the lockdown only underlined his importance.

It may have taken a few months longer than it should have because of the coronavirus pandemic, but at long last Liverpool are Premier League champions.

Manchester City's 2-1 defeat at Chelsea on Thursday finally made it mathematically impossible for Pep Guardiola's men to catch the Reds, leaving Liverpool to celebrate a first ever Premier League title.

Having come close to ending their barren run a few times over the past three decades before falling short, Liverpool were plagued by suggestions they may not be able to handle the pressure in their quest to claim a first league championship since 1990.

But in reality this was a forgone conclusion for a long time, having dropped points just once in their first 27 league matches this term.

Following confirmation of their historic achievement, we crunched the Opta numbers and looked at the key areas of their squad this season.

Dynamic and dependable at the back

Liverpool's excellence in attack is obvious – few clubs in Europe can boast a more effective front three, but at the back they are similarly impressive.

Virgil van Dijk is the key figure, of course, and the Dutchman has led by example from the back again this term. He has started all 31 of Liverpool's matches, the only Reds player to do so, and he has helped keep a league-high 14 clean sheets.

But Alisson's importance is also easy to highlight. The Brazilian missed a chunk of the season due to injury, yet he's only two shy of Van Dijk in the clean sheet stakes.

But in the modern game there is more to defenders than just ensuring the opposition don't score – full-backs are expected to be creative, and Liverpool embody that perfectly.

Trent Alexander-Arnold has laid on 12 assists this season – a figure bettered only by Kevin De Bruyne – and created 78 chances, 29 more than the Reds' second most creative player. On top of that, Andy Robertson has eight assists to his name, the joint-fourth best in the league.

Henderson the unsung hero in midfield

Throughout his career, Jordan Henderson has polarised opinion – but the only point of view that counts here is Klopp's, and the data shows the former Sunderland star's influence.

Since Klopp joined the club, Liverpool's win frequency in the league is 13 per cent better with Henderson in the team than when he is absent.

Indeed, their solitary league defeat this term – at Watford in February – came when Henderson was not in the team.

Henderson has played 125 Premier League matches for Klopp, losing just 11. In the same period, the Reds have lost 10 times from just 50 games without him.

He may not attract the plaudits like those scoring and creating the goals, but there's little doubt his functionality helps Liverpool and aids their more technically gifted superstars.

Triple threat

Is there a better front three in world football than Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah? While difficult to absolutely prove, they are undoubtedly vital to this Liverpool team.

All three are in double figures for goal involvements, with Firmino on 15 (eight goals, seven assists), 22 for Mane (15 goals, seven assists) and Salah in front with 24 (17 goals, seven assists).

Salah has found the net every 137 minutes in the league this term, the best in the team, though Mane's 25 per cent conversion rate is significantly better than the Egyptian's 17 per cent.

All three have a habit of being decisive when it matters too. No one in the entire league has scored more winning goals than Salah (seven), though Mane and Firmino are just behind him with six.

Similarly, Mane's 15 goals have led to 18 points, a Premier League-high in 2019-20.

Liverpool have been utterly ruthless this season, their remarkable 23-point cushion after 31 matches undeniable proof of their relentlessness and brilliance.

Having achieved levels of consistency that have effectively never been seen before in the Premier League era, one has to wonder what it will take to stop Klopp's Reds.

Liverpool have finally ended their wait for a breakthrough Premier League title, securing top-flight silverware for the first time since 1990.

Jurgen Klopp's men led the way as early as August and never relinquished their grasp on first place.

Unlike in the near misses in 2008-09, 2013-14 and 2018-19, the Reds would not be caught, with Manchester City and the rest of the Premier League trailing in their wake.

City's 2-1 loss at Chelsea on Thursday clinched the championship, but there were a number of key results along the way. We take a look.
 

Norwich City 3-2 Manchester City - September 14

Pep Guardiola's side blinked first in the title race. Although City had already dropped points at home to Tottenham before visiting Norwich, it appeared the defending champions would again match Liverpool stride for stride. But one of the upsets of the season sent shockwaves through the division in matchweek five.

City lost Aymeric Laporte to a knee ligament injury the previous weekend, and John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi endured a miserable evening as Kenny McLean, Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki scored at Carrow Road. Liverpool had earlier come from behind to beat Newcastle United, establishing a strong early advantage.

Sheffield United 0-1 Liverpool - September 28

Liverpool did eventually drop points for the first time against Manchester United in October, but their winning start continued to that point despite a serious test against newly promoted Sheffield United.

The Blades have been a surprise package this season and were perhaps good value for a point against Klopp's men, only for an uncharacteristic error by goalkeeper Dean Henderson - on loan from rivals United - to gift Georginio Wijnaldum a precious 70th-minute winner.

Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool - November 2

It is often said that the best teams win even when they do not play well, and the victory at Sheffield United was far from unique in that sense. Indeed, at Villa Park, Liverpool were heading for defeat until the 87th minute.

However, Andy Robertson stole in for a late equaliser, and then Sadio Mane incredibly clinched victory in the fourth minute of stoppage time. It was the second such comeback from the Reds in two weeks, having previously rallied against Tottenham at Anfield in a crucial stretch that included a dramatic win over Leicester City and their 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

Liverpool 3-1 Manchester City - November 10

And eight days on from the win at Villa, Liverpool increased their lead at the top of the table to eight points with victory over City, who were left a further point back in fourth. With the Reds' failure to beat Guardiola's side home or away in 2018-19 proving costly, this success represented a huge boost.

The match was not without its controversies, however, as City fumed at an apparent Trent Alexander-Arnold handball in the build-up to Fabinho's opener. The right-back looked to be guilty of the same offence again late in the game, with no penalty given, as Mohamed Salah and Mane also netted in a mammoth triumph.

Liverpool 2-0 Watford - December 14

Along with the run of fixtures leading into that City game, December represented a key spell for Liverpool as their title bid was disrupted by the Club World Cup. Watford would be the side to finally beat the Reds in February and, in the final match before the FIFA tournament, they gave it a good go at Anfield, too.

Nigel Pearson's first game in charge of the Hornets saw Liverpool troubled throughout, and not until Salah struck his second in the 90th minute were the points made safe.

Leicester City 0-4 Liverpool - December 26

Liverpool won the Club World Cup in Qatar, but it was like they had never been away when their league campaign resumed on Boxing Day. Leicester were second when the teams met but were blown away on their own patch.

Roberto Firmino opened the scoring before the break and then netted again, along with James Milner and Alexander-Arnold, in a ruthless eight-minute second-half spell. City lost at Wolves the following day - their second defeat of December - and the title race already looked to have been run.

Tottenham 2-0 Manchester City - February 2

Liverpool were relentless over the festive period, and their rivals' struggles meant Klopp's side could even afford a slow restart following the February mid-season break. Any slim City hopes of a spectacular pursuit of the Anfield club were surely already over in defeat at Tottenham prior to the weekend off.

Ilkay Gundogan missed a penalty, Oleksandr Zinchenko was sent off, and Steven Bergwijn and Son Heung-min netted. Bernardo Silva subsequently moaned City "gave up a bit too soon" in the title race. When Guardiola's men went down 2-0 again at Manchester United a month later, Liverpool were on the brink.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.