Liverpool and Manchester City have dominated nominations for the PFA Player of the Year award, with Virgil van Dijk and Raheem Sterling seen as the frontrunners to triumph.
Reds duo Van Dijk and Sadio Mane are joined by three City stars – Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and Sterling – among the six players in the running, with Chelsea forward Eden Hazard the only man outside the Premier League’s top two sides to make the shortlist.
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah won last year’s award, but has not made the six-man list of nominations this year despite having 19 league goals to his name. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Harry Kane are among the other prolific strikers to miss out.
The Reds could see a player win the award for a second straight season, with defender Van Dijk emerging as favourite after his magnificent displays at the back helped Jurgen Klopp’s side launch a serious Premier League title challenge.
Stiff competition comes in the form of ex-Liverpool star Sterling, who has recorded 17 goals and nine assists in the top flight for City so far this season.
Hazard won the accolade, which is voted for by players, in 2014-15, while the other five men nominated are chasing their first victory.
Sterling and Silva were also nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award, along with Declan Rice, David Brooks, Marcus Rashford and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold.
City’s team-mate Leroy Sane scooped the prize last season. Winners will be announced at the PFA awards ceremony in London on April 28.