Pitchside

What you need to know about the PFA award nominees

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Can't decide who should win the PFA Player of the Year award? Here's our guide to the contenders for the prestigious prize....

LUIS SUAREZ

Why he should win: Because he has been the most devastating player in England this season. Suarez has scored a barely believable 29 goals in 29 games, the kind of strike-rate previously thought extinct with the retirement of Dixie Dean, as well as accumulating 12 assists – both of which are league-high figures. Suarez has repeatedly destroyed teams for table-toppers Liverpool and is certainly the most awe-inspiring Premier League forward since Thierry Henry, possibly of all time.

Why he shouldn’t win: Because he’s Luis Suarez. Not that personality should really come into the equation, but it would not be a universally popular decision to see the prestigious prize handed over to a man who is still unrepentant about racially abusing Patrice Evra. Goals do not necessarily equal redemption. He also missed nearly a sixth of the season for biting Branislav Ivanovic.

STEVEN GERRARD

Why he should win: Like Alan Shearer and Ryan Giggs before him, this all-time great of the Premier League has successfully managed to transform his role in the team to give his career greater longevity. However, Gerrard’s switch from a dangerous attacker to a holding midfielder has not just seen him conserve energy: the Liverpool skipper has also become one of the most reliable passers in the business, controlling games with the same efficiency with which he used to dominate them.

Why he shouldn’t win: His contribution this season has been significantly swelled by the 10 penalties he has scored and, if Gerrard is being honest, he would surely admit even his input has been significantly overshadowed by the two strikers playing in front of him. Speaking of which…

DANIEL STURRIDGE

Why he should win: Most strikers would cower in the shadow of a player like Suarez but Sturridge thrives in it. He’s arguably been more consistent this season than the Uruguayan having spread his goals around more evenly and scored in four of the six games at the start of the campaign which Suarez was suspended for. He also scores more important goals, against the bigger teams - Suarez's 29 goals have earned Liverpool 13 points this season, but Sturridge's 20 have won them 18.

Why he shouldn’t win: More consistent than Suarez? Maybe. Has he been a better player this season? Er, no. It is also worth noting that, in tighter matches, Suarez drops deeper and creates the chances that Sturridge puts away. Plus Sturridge's lamentable celebration should count against him. Despite being 24 and having made his debut back in February 2007, Sturridge is eligible for the Young Player of the Year award so perhaps he will enjoy some consolation at least.

YAYA TOURE

Why he should win: Toure this season has extended the boundaries of what can be expected from a player who, ostensibly at least, sits deeper in midfield. Leaning on Fernandinho alongside him, Toure has scored a remarkable 18 goals for Manchester City, with a sizeable portion of these from penalty kicks and his remarkably effective free-kicks. The Ivory Coast star is a force of nature in midfield, powering past opponents and either scoring sensational long-rangers or showing his trademark finesse in the final third.

Why he shouldn’t win: City triumphed in the League Cup – with Toure scoring a brilliant goal at Wembley – but they look likely to be denied the Premier League so one of the Liverpool triumvirate would arguably be more worthy winners of the PFA award.

EDEN HAZARD

Why he should win: An unashamedly self-confident individual – Hazard recently claimed he wants to reach the same level as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – the Belgian has fully completed his thrilling transformation from potential to achievement this season, scoring 14 goals and claiming seven assists in the league. Named on the PFA Young Player shortlist too, Hazard was also a double nominee last season and perhaps his impressive consistency deserves recognition.

Why he shouldn’t win: In truth, Hazard doesn’t score quite enough goals for Chelsea to be regarded as one of the very best attacking midfielders in the game. If he started banging in around 20 then perhaps he’d have a stronger claim to being one of the finest players in the country.

ADAM LALLANA

Why he should win: ‘Incredible’ is probably the only word to describe a season that has seen Lallana go from being a good Premier League player to, very possibly, securing a starting role for England at the World Cup finals. Lallana has nine goals and six assists and awarding the PFA prize to a Southampton player for the first time since Kevin Keegan in 1982 would send a message that football does exist and is thriving outside of the old established forces.

Why he shouldn’t win: Because he hasn’t been the best player in the league this season. Giving Lallana the award would be rather perverse. Still, it’s nice to see him shortlisted.

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