I always look at teams and think, “Would I be happy to pay to watch them?” and Liverpool is one team I certainly would. They’ve got attacking threats from all over the pitch, they’re quick, they’re incisive and you daren’t take your eyes off them.
Player of the year: Luls Suárez
He’s been on another level to any other player this season. The more I see of him, the more I’m convinced he’s on a par with Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish. And that’s the highest praise. Suárez is so consistent. To come back after missing the first six games of the season and score 30 goals without taking penalties is unheard of.
Goal of the year: Wayne Rooney’s 55-yard lob
I was covering West Ham v United for Sky and the reaction of the audience was amazing. People were almost in disbelief that he pulled it off. It’s an iconic goal that we’ll be watching for years.
Disappointment of the year: Manchester United
I knew they’d find life difficult after Sir Alex Ferguson – but not that difficult. Welcome to the real world, United – fans of every other club are used to disappointment. You may have to suffer a few more years of it. David Moyes didn’t seem to be able to motivate his players and the senior players weren’t happy, so it was inevitable the club parted company with him.
Surprise of the year: Crystal Palace
They were dead and buried when Tony Pulis took over, so to be hovering around the top half of the table is incredible. It hasn’t all been about a rearguard action, either – Tony’s got them scoring plenty of goals.
Villain of the year: Vincent Tan
The Cardiff City owner is my Bond villain of the year. He’s a typical owner – a brilliant businessman who doesn’t really understand the game. He sacked Malky Mackay, who’d got them promoted, and who I’m sure would have kept them up. The problem is that owners like Mr Tan don’t like it when their manager is more famous and popular than they are.
Hero of the season: Goal-line technology
Knowing for certain whether a ball has crossed the line is fundamental. Thankfully, Hawk-Eye has proved accurate and reliable, without interrupting the flow of the game.
Young player of the year: Ross Barkley
I love watching Everton’s 20-year-old midfielder because he’s that rare thing, an English midfield player who’s brilliant at running with the ball. As a former midfielder myself, I know how scary it is when another midfielder picks the ball up and starts running at you. Barkley has matured this year and proved he’s also a classy finisher.
Biggest waste of money: Marouane Fellaini
I was shocked when Manchester United paid Everton £27.5 million for him on transfer deadline day last September. He’s a good player, but he’s just not a Manchester United player.
I’d ban… tattoos on players
I was a player, so I can say this – they’re all sheep. They just copy each other. David Beckham started it with his tattoo sleeve and now they’re all at it. I want to say, “Don’t forget, you’re going to be 60 one day.” I haven’t got any tattoos, I’m too scared.
And finally, I’d stop refs… giving yellow cards for tough tackles
Referees are too quick to send players off for mistimed tackles. If it’s reckless or dangerous then it deserves a red card, but these days two players coming together seems always to result in a foul. We’ve sanitised the game so much that we’re in danger of outlawing the tackle. But fans love the blood and thunder and controlled aggression of a 50:50 tackle. So I’d like to see refs be more lenient on the honest tackle.