Liverpool players' highest Ballon d'Or rankings

Everybody's favourite football argument starter took place on Monday night, with Lionel Messi (unsurprisingly) taking home his eighth Ballon d'Or at the ceremony in Paris.


Of the 29 other nominees for the men's award in 2023, only one was a Liverpool player – Mohamed Salah.

The 31-year-old – who has made the shortlist every year since his move to Anfield back in 2017 – finished 11th in the voting by a worldwide selection of journalists organised by France Football.

However, after a poor showing last season domestically and in Europe, there was little Liverpool representation to be found in the countdown of the best male players this year.

The sole nomination for Salah was quite a change from 2022 when six of Jurgen Klopp's squad made the list, along with recently departed Liverpool legend Sadio Mane who ultimately finished second in the voting after his AFCON triumph.

Generally speaking, Liverpool players have been no strangers to the Ballon d'Or shortlist in the Klopp era, but which of the current squad have earned nominations and what are their highest placements in the voting?

Current Liverpool players' highest Ballon d'Or ranking

Virgil van Dijk – 2nd (2019)

The Liverpool captain famously finished as runner-up in the voting behind Messi for the 2019 award, after winning the Champions League.

The centre back was named UEFA Men's Player of the same year but was pipped by the then Barcelona star in the Ballon d'Or vote. He remains the only defender to make the top three since Fabio Cannavaro won the award in 2006.

Mohamed Salah – 5th (2019, 2022)

Liverpool's record Premier League and European goalscorer has broken the top five twice, but can count himself unlucky not to have placed higher still.

Had things panned out differently in 2022 with Liverpool chasing a historic treble and Egypt seeking AFCON glory, he would've been a shoo-in for the prize.

Alisson Becker – 7th (2019) *1st in Yashin Trophy

Alisson finished seventh overall in 2019 after the Reds' European success, also lifting the inaugural Yashin Trophy for goalkeepers. He was, however, controversially omitted from 2023's shortlist for the same award.

Luis Diaz – 17th (2022)

Liverpool's Colombian winger was among the half-dozen Reds nominated in 2022 after the cup double.

Diaz enjoyed an impressive start at Anfield after a mid-season move from Porto and was even named Man of the Match in the FA Cup final against Chelsea.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 19th (2019)

Twice nominated, Alexander-Arnold's highest finish came in 2019, when he was inspirational in Liverpool's Champions League glory.

No full back placed higher in the rankings that year.

Darwin Nuñez – 25th (2022)

Joint-25th along with five others, Nuñez received his first nomination last year after making the club-record transfer from Benfica to Liverpool.

After finding his feet at Anfield, more recognition is to be expected in the years to come for Liverpool's new number nine.


LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 4, 2001: Liverpool's Michael Owen celebrates scoring his second, and Liverpool's third, goal during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Just one player in history has won the Ballon d'Or while still playing for Liverpool – Michael Owen in 2001.

The former striker, just 22 at the time, enjoyed an impressive calendar year, during which he scored 31 goals and played a starring role in a famous treble with Gerard Houllier's side.

Among his highlights from the year, Owen netted an iconic late brace to win the FA Cup final against Arsenal and scored a hat-trick in England's 5-1 win over Germany.

Narrowly beating out Real Madrid forward Raul to the honour, Owen became only the fourth Englishman to win the award after Stanley Matthews (1956), Bobby Charlton (1966) and Keegan (1978, 1979).

No British player has lifted the trophy since.

Liverpool legends Kenny Dalglish, Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Van Dijk and Mane (though he had already left Anfield by the time of the ceremony in 2022) have all been voted into the Ballon d'Or top three over the years for their achievements.

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