Player of the season: Steven Gerrard
Liverpool's inspirational captain has been at his brilliant best this season. An ever-present in Brendan Rodgers' starting line-up, the number eight has enjoyed a rare season free of injuries, missing only the last two inconsequential league matches in order to undergo surgery on a shoulder problem. As a result, Gerrard has been in masterful form, reminding Reds' supporters of why he is so crucial to the team and how much they will miss him when he follows his good friend Jamie Carragher and decides to retire.
At 33, Gerrard has done remarkably well to complete so many games, particularly considering he maintained his high standards of performance throughout. The number eight adapted well to the slightly deeper role in which he was deployed by Rodgers, pinging passes around the pitch with unerring accuracy and regularly starting attacks from deep, while also putting in a shift at the back and helping to protect the back four. Its a role that he'll probably be playing in for the rest of his career, so it is encouraging to witness him excelling in it already, placing the needs of the team above the evident desire he must have to roam forward and attack.
When he did find himself in attack, though, Gerrard didn't disappoint, bagging ten goals. The most memorable was his fantastic long-range strike against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, which would have given the Merseysiders a 2-1 victory had Aguero not responded soon after with a similarly stunning strike.
|Captain fantastic has been wearing his shooting boots this season|
Therefore, for his professionalism, commitment and quality, Steven Gerrard receives the player of the season award.
Young player of the season: Raheem Sterling
The 18-year old winger caused quite a stir with his performances early on in the season, although his involvement in the first team tapered off in the New Year. Sterling was considered a regular in Brendan Rodgers' starting line-up, routinely frequenting Liverpool's right wing and testing defenders with his pace and trickery.
After making 36 appearances and playing in over 60% of Liverpool's Premier League fixtures, Sterling has made considerable progress in his career this season, despite struggling to reproduce his form from the first half of the season in the second half of the season due to injuries blighting his confidence and the signing of Sturridge and Coutinho restricting his opportunities to continue to make an impact on the first team.
Nevertheless, Sterling's impressive and promising displays at the start of the 2012/2013 season win him our young player of the season award. We look forward to watching him complement Sturridge, Suarez and Coutinho in what promises to be an exciting attack next season.
|Sterling's career has significantly progressed this season|
Jordan Henderson arrived from Sunderland in the summer of 2011 with a £16 million price tag significantly increasing Liverpool supporters' expectations of him and thus hampering his performances and eroding his confidence. Kenny Dalglish routinely playing him out of position didn't help either, as the 22-year old struggled to impress when placed on the right wing or, more bizarrely, at right back.
However, this season Henderson's form has noticeably improved. He has revelled in his preferred central role and has often enjoyed being given the freedom to attack at will, with minimal defensive duties tying him down. Energetic, conscientious and committed, Henderson has been a valuable member of the Reds' midfield, passing well and improving his finishing skills as well, netting six goals, including a wonderful strike at home to Norwich.
His transformation has been similar to Lucas'. Both struggled early on in their Liverpool careers but were persistently picked in the starting line-up, often to the chagrin of many supporters. They've won supporters over, though, through good, old fashioned hard-work, evident devotion and improved performances.
Stewart Downing has also massively improved this season, particularly after being told by boss Brendan Rodgers in December that he could leave in the January transfer window. Instead of leaving to join Middlesbrough on loan, Downing fought for his place and impressed in the process. The most improved player of the season award goes to Henderson, however, because he has consistently put in a shift in every game, whereas Downing can often go missing in games and fail to make an impact.
|Henderson wheels away in celebration after netting one of his six goals this season|
Philippe Coutinho has quite simply been a revelation since signing from Inter Milan for a measly £8.5 million in the January transfer window. Many expected him to require half a season to settle into life in the Premier League, but the diminutive midfield man has proved them wrong, performing exceptionally well from the word 'go'.
His dazzling skills have enthralled Kopites, who are delighted to watch a creative genius pick opposition defences to pieces for fun. Time and time again the Brazilian has spotted passes that nobody else in the stadium has, unlocking defences and providing numerous assists. His partnership with fellow January signing Daniel Sturridge has been especially encouraging, while fans cannot wait to see the pair play regularly with the goal machine that is Luis Suarez next season.
Sturridge has also been in exquisite form since signing in January, but Coutinho just edges it to clinch the signing of the season award.
|Coutinho was a bargain buy at just over £8 million|
This remarkable goal encompassed both the beautiful football that Rodgers desires and the direct style of play that is sometimes necessary to earn Premier League points. A stray Newcastle pass gifted possession to Jose Enrique, who displayed terrific vision to pick out Luis Suarez with a lofted long ball. At that point the number seven still had plenty to do, but he completed the move in stunning fashion. After evading Coloccini, Suarez controlled the ball impeccably on his chest to direct the ball around Krul, and easily tap the ball into the unguarded net from yards out. It was a world class goal from the immense Luis Suarez.
Game of the season: Newcastle United 0-6 Liverpool
In their first game since the 'bite-gate' scandal that saw Luis Suarez handed a ten game ban, Liverpool proved that they aren't a one-man team and are more than able to find the back of the net without their star striker, as they achieved their biggest margin of victory during the 2012/2013 season at St James' Park.
Braces from Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge, as well as an early header from Daniel Agger and Fabio Borini's first Premier League goal, secured a fantastic win that the Reds' thoroughly deserved. Although he didn't get on the score sheet, Coutinho was instrumental in creating the goals that his teammates converted, pulling the strings masterfully in midfield.
It was a classy performance from Liverpool, who were simply excellent.