RYAN Bertrand has labelled former Saint Sadio Mane as Liverpool’s best player.

Mane joined the Reds in 2016 for £35m, two seasons after signing for the St Mary’s side from Red Bull Salzburg.

And Bertrand, who played with the winger at Saints, is excited for tomorrow’s tussle with his former teammate.

Daily Echo: Ryan BertrandRyan Bertrand

“He isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. I am thoroughly looking forward to it,” said Bertrand.

“I’ve been really impressed with him, I think he has been their main player.

“I’m sure the other attackers have still produced some fantastic numbers in terms of goals, but I think he has been the one that shines.”

Mane has netted 20 goals for Liverpool this campaign, which is an achievement that hasn’t taken Bertrand by surprise.

He added: “When you are in a team like Southampton and then go to the top teams, you are controlling more of the game.

“Naturally, you are going to get a lot more chances.

“At the same time, you need to be clinical with them and he has.”

Liverpool are in the midst of a Premier League title scrap with Manchester City.

Jurgen Klopp’s Anfield side have lost only once this campaign, as they go in search of their first top-flight championship in 29 years.

And ahead of tomorrow night’s match, Bertrand is expecting it to be a thrilling encounter due to the similar styles of play.

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl was dubbed the Alpine Klopp when he arrived in England last December.

The nickname came from his spell in Germany, where he drew comparisons with the current Liverpool and former Borussia Dortmund boss.

“It will be a big game.

“They are fighting to create history and to win the Premier League and we still need the points, so we will also be fighting.

“The better teams are more clinical, more difficult and technically gifted, but at the same time with that, comes more opportunity where that might leave more gaps defensively.

“You have to take your chances.”

During Bertrand’s spell on the sidelines, Hasenhuttl installed Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as his captain.

However, the Danish international has held onto the armband despite the defender’s return to the Saints side.

Former boss Mark Hughes had made Bertrand his captain for the season, but the 29-year-old insisted he’s still committed.

“It’s fine – this is football.

“The club makes those decisions and it doesn’t affect me.

“Armband or no armband, my approach will always stay the same.”