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Mane would be a fitting Player of the Year, insists Rush

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Happy days: Sadio Mane grins with delight as he gets up close with the Premier League trophy

Happy days: Sadio Mane grins with delight as he gets up close with the Premier League trophy

Getty Images

Ian Rush

Ian Rush

Getty Images

Happy days: Sadio Mane grins with delight as he gets up close with the Premier League trophy

Former Liverpool striker Ian Rush believes Sadio Mane deserves to be crowned Premier League Player of the Year.

The Senegal international has scored 21 times this season, which is two behind team-mate Mohamed Salah.

Captain Jordan Henderson, however, appears to be the front-runner to contest the title with Manchester City's Kevin de Bruyne when it is announced today.

Rush, Liverpool's record goalscorer, believes Mane should be in the conversation.

"It's been very difficult. I am biased as I like strikers and I think Mane has been fantastic," he said.

"Jordan Henderson has been incredible and Virgil van Dijk is Van Dijk but I think Mane has been fantastic this season.

"People say Salah hasn't been as good as he has been and we all know that but he's still our top goalscorer. It just shows how good he was when he scored 43 goals (in his maiden campaign at the club three years ago).

"People are judging him on that and that was an incredible season and you are not going to get that again. He is still doing a great job but Mane seems to have upped his game."

Despite winning the Premier League - their first title in 30 years - at a canter, there has been questions asked about the depth of Jurgen Klopp's squad.

Back-up forwards Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - although he has also mainly been deployed in midfield - Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri and January signing Takumi Minamino have contributed just 13 goals.

Klopp was interested in RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner but withdrew when the price became too high, and he signed for Chelsea.

The Reds boss has sought to manage expectations for the summer transfer window after the impact and uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rush, however, is backing the manager and his recruitment team and believes there are a number of youngsters who have had first-team experience this season who could be given a chance.

"Werner is a great player and people said they should have got him but there is a reason they didn't," he added. "I am sure he would have loved to come to Liverpool but I think Klopp is right in what he is doing. They should want to come not for the money but because of Liverpool Football Club.

"Liverpool have principles and everyone wants to play for them but they have to be the right player. Look at the front three. Is someone going to come to play second-fiddle? I'd be surprised if anyone got in front of those three. But it's difficult because if you're going to pay £80m for someone you expect to start the season with them."

Belfast Telegraph