Anfield star wins award voted for by fans, but does he deserve it?
Liverpool midfielder Raul Meireles has been named the ESPN PFA Fans’ Player of the Year, an award voted for by Premier League supporters.
Meireles, 28, endured a difficult start to life at Anfield, seemingly struggling to adapt to life in English football after Roy Hodgson signed him from Porto last summer.
But under Kenny Dalglish the Portuguese international has flourished, scoring five goals since the turn of the year. All of those strikes came in an impressive six-game run, which helped lift the Reds from the Premier League doldrums and into contention for European qualification.
A dominant and dynamic box-to-box midfielder, Meireles has emerged as a key figure for Dalglish’s Liverpool and his excellent work-rate, range of passing and ability to make himself a nuisance in the opposition’s penalty area should see him continue to shine next season.
Meireles, who won the February ESPN PFA Fans’ Player of the Month award, beat off stiff competition from fellow monthly winners Samir Nasri (October, December, January), Dimitar Berbatov (September), Fernando Torres (November) and David Luiz (March).
Maybe ESPN should re-name this award as Liverpool supporters’ Player of the Year.
For there is no way Raul Meireles deserved to win this accolade.
He has turned his season around incredibly and deserves a lot of credit for this because he was in danger of going the same way as Paul Konchesky and Christian Poulsen.
All three were signed by Roy Hodgson and the latter two have become symbolic with everything that went wrong under the former Fulham boss’ tenure.
But Meireles worked hard and turned his Anfield career around and flourished under Kenny Dalglish.
But what is hard to understand is Meireles only shone in the Liverpool midfield for a month this season.
The most consistent performer in front of the Kop this campaign has been Lucas Leiva.
The Brazilian also had a difficult start to his Liverpool career, taking a lot stick for not producing the same level of performances that Xabi Alonso or Javier Mascherano did.
But he has grown into his role of midfield enforcer and has been rewarded with a new long-term contract.
So there you have it, Meireles is not even the Liverpool midfielder of the year, let alone the best Premier League player of the season.