By Luke Feather
The Ballon d’Or ceremony is one of the most highly anticipated events on the football calendar.
This year sees just one Liverpool representative on the 30-man shortlist with the talismanic Mohamed Salah tipped to make the top 10.
As one of the most successful clubs in European football, Liverpool has a rich history with the award, with one player winning the award while playing at Anfield.
Michael Owen – 2001 winner
To date, Owen is the only player to win a Ballon d’Or while playing for Liverpool, back in 2001.
Owen was 22 at the time and won the award after a historic cup treble, with the Reds picking up the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup.
The Englishman also shone for his country, most notably bagging a hat-trick during a Liverpool-inspired 5-1 win against Germany in Munich, which also saw Steven Gerrard and Emile Heskey on the scoresheet.
Kevin Keegan – 1978, 1979 winner
While not a Liverpool player at the time, Kevin Keegan makes this list following more than 300 appearances for the Anfield side.
Keegan’s Ballon d’Ors came during his spell at Bundesliga club Hamburg, in which he helped to transform the side from a mid-table team to title winners in 1979.
His two wins made him the first British-born player to win the award since George Best in 1968.
Kenny Dalglish – 1983 runner up
One of the Reds’ greatest ever servants, Sir Kenny Dalglish enjoyed success as both a player and manager of Liverpool in the 1980s winning the First Division eight times between 1978 and 1990.
Dalglish was named PFA Players’ Player of the Year for the 1982-83 season, as he scored 18 league goals and helped Liverpool to retain the title.
Only the great Michel Platini finished above the Scotsman in the final Ballon d’Or standings in 1983.
Virgil van Dijk – 2019 runner up
With the 2020 ceremony cancelled due to Covid, the last player to finish second in Ballon d’Or voting remains Virgil van Dijk – pipped to the award by Lionel Messi in 2019.
Van Dijk joined Liverpool in January 2018 and had an instant impact, helping the club to the Champions League final in May.
The following season saw Jurgen Klopp’s side go one better in Europe’s elite competition, beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in the final.
Steven Gerrard – 2005 third place
Another Champions League-inspired podium entry is Steven Gerrard in 2005, who finished third behind Ronaldinho and Frank Lampard.
The former Liverpool captain led his side to one of the most remarkable final wins in the history of European football – coming back from 3-0 down against AC Milan in Istanbul to draw and eventually win on penalties.
His showing in the final especially would have given him a strong case to win the Ballon d’Or, with his amazing performances during the following season seeing the midfielder win the PFA Player’s Player of the Year.
This year’s Ballon D’Or presentation is live on Eurosport Youtube, from 7.30pm.