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Liverpool stars head nominees

Twenty-one players are in contention for Thursday's UEFA Club Football Awards in Monaco, including four from the European champions Liverpool FC.

Best Goalkeeper
In the Best Goalkeeper category, Buffon is up against Liverpool FC's Jerzy Dudek, who performed heroics in the UEFA Champions League final in Istanbul. Buffon conceded only 26 goals as Juventus claimed the Serie A title for the third time in four seasons, although the other contender for the goalkeeping award did even better. Chelsea FC's Petr Cech enjoyed a superlative first season with the club, being beaten only 13 times as the club claimed the English league title for the first time in 50 seasons, and is joined by two of his team-mates in the list of nominees.

Best Defender
Club captain John Terry is nominated in the Best Defender category, while his Chelsea and England team-mate Frank Lampard is one of seven contenders to win the Best Midfielder award. Despite their defeat by Liverpool in Istanbul, three Milan players will compete with Terry for the Best Defender accolade - Paolo Maldini, Cafu and Alessandro Nesta - while two members of that victorious Liverpool side win recognitition in the same category, Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyypiä.

Best Midfielder
The Best Midfielder of 2002, Michael Ballack of FC Bayern München is a contender for the award again, although he faces stiff competition to claim the title for a second time. Again Milan are prominently represented in the shape of Kakà and Andrea Pirlo, while Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is the second English-based player in the category after Lampard. Brazilian playmaker Juninho Pernambucano, of Olympique Lyonnais, and Dutch international Mark van Bommel, who left PSV Eindhoven for FC Barcelona at the start of the summer, are also strong contenders for the award.

Best Striker
The Best Striker category will be equally hotly contested, with 1999 winner Andriy Shevchenko of Milan facing four other forwards. The Ukrainian aside, the other four nominees are non-European, with Brazilian pair Ronaldinho, of FC Barcelona, and FC Internazionale Milano's Adriano winning recognition for hugely impressive campaigns for club and country last season. Ronaldinho's club-mate Samuel Eto'o, of Cameroon, who struck 25 league goals as the club were crowned Spanish champions, is also involved, as is Manchester United FC's Korean Republic recruit Ji-Sung Park for his exploits at PSV.

Ceremony details
All 21 nominees across the four categories are in contention for the Most Valuable Player award, which will also be announced at the awards ceremony. That will take place at 16.00CET at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, and will be combined with the draw for the group stage of the Champions League.

2005 UEFA Club Football Awards
Best Goalkeeper nominees
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus FC)
Petr Cech (Chelsea FC)
Jerzy Dudek (Liverpool FC)

2005 UEFA Club Football Awards
Best Defender nominees
Cafu (AC Milan)
Jamie Carragher (Liverpool FC)
Sami Hyypiä (Liverpool FC)
Paolo Maldini (AC Milan)
Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan)
John Terry (Chelsea FC)

2005 UEFA Club Football Awards
Best Midfielder nominees
Michael Ballack (FC Bayern München)
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool FC)
Kakà (AC Milan)
Juninho Pernambucano (Olympique Lyonnais)
Frank Lampard (Chelsea FC)
Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan)
Mark van Bommel (PSV Eindhoven, now FC Barcelona)

2005 UEFA Club Football Awards
Best Forward nominees
Adriano (FC Internazionale Milano)
Samuel Eto'o (FC Barcelona)
Ji-Sung Park (PSV Eindhoven, now Manchester United FC)
Ronaldinho (FC Barcelona)
Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan)