RALPH Hasenhuttl is backing the ‘best-ever Danny Ings’ to ‘find the right balance’ in his first game back at Anfield.

Ings scored in Saints’ 2-1 defeat against Liverpool in August but today he will be playing his first game there since leaving for his hometown club 18 months ago.

He returns in the form of his life, having been restricted to six starts and eight appearances as a substitute for Liverpool in the Premier League, during four years decimated by injury.

Hasenhuttl, who has never been to Anfield before, said: “Danny’s made good progress and maybe it is the best Danny Ings we have ever seen.

“He has the chance to score a second time [against Liverpool this season]. Hopefully he goes there and has the right balance of being motivated and not too forcing to score because that’s never good.”

After a summer of hard graft improving his fitness to ensure he is more resistant to injury, Ings has been prolific.

He scored seven goals in 23 Premier League starts for Saints during his season-long loan and has 14 goals from 19 starts since his move from Liverpool was made permanent.

“When I came here he was injured, then injured again and again so it was very difficult last season to develop him,” continued Hasenhuttl.

“The most important thing was that he stayed fit and this season is completely different after a good pre-season without injuries.

“He’s in a completely different shape and can work for 90 minutes if he wants.

“He changes his game a little bit, less touches, running more deep helped him to be in the position to score more often and he has a good finish, everyone knows.

“My job was to get him in that position more often.”

Ings only scored one of his three Liverpool goals at Anfield, in a 1-1 draw against Norwich in September 2015 at the beginning of his first season with the club, following his £1m move from Burnley.

The following month Brendan Rodgers was replaced by Klopp, who has taken Liverpool to another level, as Hasenhuttl has done at Saints.

Both have done so with a counter-pressing philosophy that Hasenhuttl admires in today’s opponents.

“The transition is fantastic to watch, absolutely,” he said.

“The speed they have in front is unbelievable and also the way they defend with a really high line.

“It doesn’t make sense to compare our team with their team but sure you always look at the best teams and what they do good and some form of counter-pressing, of winning the ball back is something you can always use for yourself.”

Liverpool remain in course to emulate Arsenal’s Invincibles after their 2-0 win at West Ham on Wednesday. They have not lost at home since April 2017.

But Saints’ incredible recent run means confidence is as high as it has ever been before a trip to Anfield.

“Liverpool are the strongest team no doubt at the moment, maybe in the world, and as long as they have this momentum on their side they’re hard to beat - but you never know,” continued Hasenhuttl.

“I don’t see the moment where they’re not hungry anymore because I know the manager and how good the players are.

“But nothing is forever. You always have a chance to be a bit better against the ball, to invest more than the opponent, to be more hungry than they are. It’s not as easy but you can be and there’s no excuse if you don’t do this.”