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Mane is the main man for Rush to get player award

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Liverpool's Sadio Mane. Photo: Reuters

Liverpool's Sadio Mane. Photo: Reuters

Pool via REUTERS

Liverpool's Sadio Mane. Photo: Reuters

Former Liverpool striker Ian Rush believes Sadio Mane deserves to be crowned player of the year.

The Senegal international has scored 21 times this season, which is two behind teammate 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 on Friday.

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 those 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 this season."

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

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

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.