The 2021/22 PFA Premier League Team of the Year has been revealed, with six Liverpool players making it into the XI, but there is no room for joint-Golden Boot winner Son Heung-min.
In a 4-3-3 formation, Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk made up a cohort of defensive Reds in the side, placing alongside Chelsea’s departing centre-back Antonio Rudiger and Manchester City’s title-winning full-back Joao Cancelo.
OFFICIAL: The 2021/22 PFA Premier League Team of the Year:
Virgil Van Dijk
Kevin De Bruyne
Sadio Mané #PFAawards
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) June 9, 2022
Further forward Thiago Alantara was positioned alongside Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva, while the attacking three included Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who netted 18 Premier League goals on his return to Old Trafford.
Alisson’s inclusion makes sense after he kept the most clean sheets (20) and conceded the fewest goals (24). Ederson also kept 20 shutouts, but his compatriot was the more active shot-stopper, making 76 saves to the City man’s 60, while Alisson also had the best save percentage in the division for goalkeepers who made over five appearances (76%).
Alexander-Arnold (12) finished just one behind Salah (13) for most assists, while he also created the most chances across the entire season (90), finishing ahead of the likes of Bruno Fernandes (89) and De Bruyne (87). Van Dijk was back to his best in 2021/22, marshalling an extremely watertight backline as Jurgen Klopp’s men pushed City to the final day in the title race.
There will be few arguments over Rudiger or Cancelo’s inclusions, with the German centre-back warranting a move to Real Madrid after a extraordinary campaign in the heart of Thomas Tuchel’s defence, while the latter was a beacon of consistency for Pep Guardiola, no matter the flank he was positioned on.
Thiago enjoyed a season of metronomic passing brilliance as he put an inconsistent maiden campaign at Anfield behind him to establish himself as one of Klopp’s more reliable and threatening midfielders, while De Bruyne and Silva were attacking menaces in the middle of the park at the Etihad.
Salah claimed another Golden Boot and finished with the Playmaker of the Season award thanks to his 13 assists, while Mane scored some crucial goals at Anfield as he also marked a fantastic personal campaign away from the Premier League by scoring the winning penalty as Senegal claimed a first ever African Cup of Nations.
Ronaldo also made the team after an impressive first season back in the North West. Despite Man Utd’s troubles, both on and off the field, Ronaldo was as clinical as ever in the final third, scoring the third-most goals in 2021/22, behind only joint-Golden Boot winners Son and Salah.