With the calendar year 2020 set to come to an end in just over a week, two former English legends Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have revealed their picks for the best Premier League XI of the year on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football.
After what has been a memorable year for the English top-flight, it was all the more special for Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool in particular as they ended their thirty-year wait for their maiden Premier League title. The Reds won the title by a staggering 18 points over former champions Manchester City.
Due to this, the best Premier League XI team was unsurprisingly dominated by a number of the Reds' stars. Apart from the host of Liverpool players, there were spots for a few star players from the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, and Tottenham Hotspur.
Carra and Neville's Premier League XI of 2020
Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker kicks off the Liverpool-dominated XI in goal after his majestic campaign for Klopp's men. The former AS Roma man has been one of the Reds' most impactful signings in recent years, perhaps along with Virgil van Dijk.
Carragher believes that his impact could potentially even greater, saying;
"It's equally important as when Virgil van Dijk came in when Liverpool signed Alisson. Liverpool, without Van Dijk, are still the best team in the league and it's because he's there."
Protecting the Brazilian's goal are three out of Liverpool's Premier League-winning defence in Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Andy Robertson, along with Wolves captain Conor Coady.
The three Reds stars were all immense in Liverpool's conquest of the Premier League and were undisputedly the best players in their respective positions. Van Dijk went on to play every single minute of their Premier League-winning campaign and staked his claim as arguably the best centre-back in the world after another phenomenal season.
Alexander-Arnold and Robertson both ended up as two of the highest-assist providers in the league, and were simply unplayable for opposition sides.
Neville revealed that the options they considered for the second centre-half's position for this Premier League XI were Eric Dier, Harry Maguire, Ayermic Laporte, Tyrone Mings and Conor Coady, and the Wolves captain was ultimately the player they went for after a memorable year for Coady.
The midfield is packed with some of the finest individual players the Premier League has seen over the course of 2020, starting with Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson. The Reds' inspirational leader was the heartbeat of the champions' midfield and drove the side further from the middle of the park.
Henderson is partnered in midfield by PFA Player of the Year Kevin De Bruyne after his record breaking campaign for Manchester City, which saw him level Thierry Henry's long-standing record of 20 assists in a Premier League campaign. The Belgian also had 13 goals to go with his record-equaling tally of assists.
Manchester United's latest Portuguese sensation Bruno Fernandes rounds off the three in midfield after being arguably the best signing made by a Premier League club in 2020. The former Sporting CP captain has transformed the way that the Red Devils approach the game and has had more goals and assists than any player in the Premier League since his arrival in Manchester.
Two out of the three spots in attack are occupied by two of the most in-form Premier League superstars in Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son. The pair have registered more goals and assists than any other duo in England this season and are closing in on the Premier League record held by Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba as the most prolific partnership in the league.
Carragher and Neville revealed that Sadio Mane was the closest competitor to Son's spot in this team, but the Spurs man just pipped the Liverpool forward due to a higher goal and assist return.
The right side of the attack is taken up by the final Liverpool player on the side, Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian superstar is one of the best forwards in world football and was in fine form last season and is the top scorer of the ongoing campaign as well with 13 goals in 14 games.
Neville claimed that Salah is a 'cold-blooded' player which gives him an edge over someone like Sadio Mane, which is why he picked him over the Senegalese. The former Premier League-winning captain said;
"The reason I've always chosen Salah over Mane is because he's cold-blooded. Mane's a team player, who would always put the team first, but Salah is cold-blooded and that's not a negative. It makes Liverpool vicious as a team and he's the type who will just go for it again and again and again and again, and he won't stop."
Full Premier League XI 2020: Alisson; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Coady, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson; Kevin De Bruyne, Jordan Henderson, Bruno Fernandes; Mo Salah, Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son
Published 22 Dec 2020, 20:56 IST