Van Dijk has been a revelation since joining Liverpool in a £75 million deal from Southampton in January of last year.
In his first full season at Anfield, the Netherlands international could win a double as Jurgen Klopp's side remain in contention for Premier League and Champions League glory.
Manchester City were heavily linked to him in December of 2017 [The Telegraph], a month before joining Liverpool.
Keown, a former centre-back, told BBC Sport: "He is just class, isn't he? He purrs around the pitch, in possession or out of possession, he is a mountain in the air and has taken on the responsibility, at this time in his career to try to lead Liverpool to the title.
"That's because he wants to be a winner. I am just glad he didn't go to City, because he could have gone there and we wouldn't have had a brilliant title race like this one if he had."
Van Dijk's main rival for the individual gong is Manchester City's Raheem Sterling, though the winner will be announced before the title is decided.
Really, the voting should only finish once the campaign is over, giving the voters a greater scope, but one of them is likely to be crowned Player of the Year before the war between Liverpool and Pep Guardiola's troops is even over.
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