Mohamed Salah has won the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award, edging out Kevin De Bruyne in the tightest vote since 1969.
Salah landed the prize after receiving fewer than 20 votes more than Manchester City midfielder De Bruyne.
The 25-year-old has scored 43 goals in 48 appearances for Liverpool this season following a £34million move from Roma last summer.
He becomes the first African winner of the award and the 15th player in the Premier League era to win the FWA and Players’ Football Association’s Player of the Year gongs in the same season.
Harry Kane was in third place but the Tottenham striker was a long way behind the top two as Salah and De Bruyne polled 90 per cent of the vote between them.
Seven other players received votes from more than 400 members balloted: Sergio Aguero (City), Christian Eriksen (Tottenham), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Nick Pope (Burnley), David Silva (City), Raheem Sterling (City) and Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham).
Salah will receive the trophy at a prestigious dinner on May 10 in London and FWA chairman Patrick Barclay said: “It’s been the tightest call since 1968/69, when there was a dead heat between Tony Book of Manchester City and Derby’s Dave Mackay.
“Right up to the last week or so we thought it might happen again, so strong was the support for Kevin de Bruyne, but Mo Salah’s relentless match-winning form, exemplified by his two great goals against Roma, seems to have swung the vote by a very narrow margin.
“What a race it has been between two players who, in a relatively short time, have reached genuine world class. “
The FWA award has been running since 1948 but this year saw the inaugural FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year award, won by Chelsea forward Fran Kirby.