Mohamed Salah v Kevin De Bruyne: Who should win the PFA Player of the Year award?

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne are vying for the PFA Player of the Year award ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg at Anfield.

Salah has enjoyed a dazzling debut campaign at Liverpool, sending records tumbling with his goalscoring exploits, while De Bruyne has been the inspiration behind City’s charge towards the Premier League title.

But who has been better? Here, we weigh up the case for each player. Have your say below and get involved in the debate in the comments section.

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When it comes to goals and assists combined, it’s Salah who comes out on top. The Egyptian has netted 29 times so far, putting him five ahead of Harry Kane at the top of the scoring charts, and he has provided nine assists too. The Egyptian only needs two more goals to equal the record for a 38-game season. You wouldn’t bet against him surpassing that total.

De Bruyne ranks top in the Premier League for assists this season (15) and he has also created more scoring chances than any other player (98), but with just seven goals, his combined total is not close to Salah’s. That is perhaps no great surprise given he has moved back into central midfield this season – but could it sway the PFA Player of the Year voting?

Salah v De Bruyne – Premier League 2017/18 Player Apps Goals Assists M Salah 29(2) 29 9 K De Bruyne 31 7 15 The odds

De Bruyne remains the bookmakers’ favourite to lift the prize. Sky Bet rate his chances at 4/6, with Salah given odds of 11/10. Harry Kane is deemed the third most likely recipient, but his odds are way out at 28/1. It’s a two-horse race, in other words.

What the managers say

Guardiola on De Bruyne: “He can do everything on the pitch. And, in terms of mentality as well, he never hides. The big players you realise in the bad moments, the bad moments in terms of 75 minutes, we are losing, how you react in that situation.

“At 4-0 everybody is a top-class player, the important time is when you are in the bad moments. I think he is world class because he can do absolutely everything.”

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Klopp on Salah: “I don’t think Mo or anybody else wants to be compared with Lionel Messi – he is the one who has been doing what he’s been doing for what feels like 20 years or so. The last player I know who had the same influence on a team performance was Diego Maradona.

“But Mo is in a fantastic way, that’s for sure. As it always is in life, if you have to have the skills you have to show that constantly and consistently, and he is very good. He helps us a lot. The boys love playing together with him, he loves playing with them so it’s good.”

The pundit verdict

Phil Thompson: “I think because of the way the voting patterns go that De Bruyne will probably get the PFA Player of the Year and I think Salah, because he’s had the better last six weeks, will win the Football Writers’ Award.

“De Bruyne has obviously been fantastic throughout the season and has adapted very impressively to playing a deeper role for City, which allows them to switch from defence to attack so quickly.

“However, it has been a first season wonder for Salah and I think it has been quite extraordinary for a player who isn’t an out-and-out striker, which just makes it even more incredible.

“I just think the big occasion doesn’t seem to worry Salah. He’s quite laid back and ready to go and I think he is enjoying every minute of the season.

“I think everybody’s idea is whether he can maintain it and if he can get half as many goals next season then he has done incredible.

“I’ve got absolutely no worries whatsoever that he won’t be at Liverpool next season. Other people will be looking to see whether it is a one-off situation.

“Every time we get a player who hits the big heights everybody makes out that the likes of Real Madrid and PSG are looking at our players. However, he’s felt that rejection from Chelsea so I’d imagine he’s probably appreciating the adulation at Anfield and how the club is helping to make him a better player.”

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April 7, 2018, 11:30am

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