Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes that his defender Virgil van Dijk deserves to win the Ballon d’Or for his exceptional form throughout last season.

Van Dijk is one of the seven Liverpool players to have been shortlisted for the most prestigious individual award in the sport. The other six are Roberto Firmino, Alisson Becker, Gini Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah. 

Earlier this year, Lionel Messi beat Van Dijk to FIFA's best footballer's award. The voting for the award showed Van Dijk winning amongst journalists, but Messi overwhelmed him with votes from national team coaches and captains. The last few years have seen that the player who wins the FIFA award also wins the Ballon d'Or, which only includes votes from journalists. 

Speaking about the Messi-Van Dijk situation ahead of Monday's Ballon d'Or ceremony, Liverpool boss Klopp said, "If you give the Ballon d’Or to the best player of his generation, you give it always to Lionel Messi, that’s how it is. If you give it to the best player of last season then it was Virgil van Dijk. I don’t know exactly how it will work but that’s how I see it."

"If it’s for the best player, the best player at all, and of all, then it’s Lionel, (but if it is for) best player of last season, (then it’s) Virgil. We will see," Klopp added in a recent interview

While Van Dijk lost the FIFA award, he was named the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, PFA Players’ Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season for Liverpool's 2018-19 season where the Reds won their sixth Champions League title and lost the Premer League title to Manchester City just by a point after amassing a total of 97 points. 

Here are the top candidates shortlisted for Ballon d'Or 2019:

  1. Liverpool - Van Dijk, Firmino, Alisson, Wijnaldum, Alexander-Arnold, Mane and Salah
  2. Manchester City -  De Bruyne, Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Aguero and Sterling
  3. Barcelona - Leo Messi, Griezmann, Ter Stegen and De Jong
  4. Real Madrid - Benzema and Hazard
  5. Tottenham - Son and Lloris
  6. Ajax - Van de Beek and Tadic
  7. Juventus - Cristiano Ronaldo and De Ligt
  8. PSG - Mbappe and Marquinhos
  9. Atletico Madrid - Joao Felix
  10. Napoli - Koulibaly
  11. Bayern Munich - Lewandowski
  12. Arsenal - Aubameyang