Martin King takes a look at Danny Ings and what the Englishman has to do get into Jurgen Klopp’s plans.
Liverpool’s form prior to the international break was nothing short of brilliant. For fans and experts, it’s been an exciting period to behold while manager Jürgen Klopp should be pleased to have found his best team as he approaches his first year at Anfield.
Amongst all of this, though, has been a figure who has been making himself difficult to ignore, a man tirelessly working behind-the-scenes with a burning desire to get involved in Klopp’s plans and that man is Danny Ings.
The Englishman has been playing with the Liverpool under-23 team and has been doing well, leaving supporters to wonder when he will finally get his chance under Klopp.
Ings arrived from Burnley last summer under then boss Brendan Rodgers, for a fee that would later be settled by a tribunal as £6.5million.
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The Englishman had caught the eye with the Clarets in his Premier League debut campaign, scoring 11 goals in 35 appearances, but those were sadly not enough to save the Lancashire club from relegation. That then meant that the striker’s transfer to Liverpool represented a huge step in his career and he had to make it count.
In what was initially a poor start to the Reds’ season, Ings was one of the side’s stand-out players as he scored three goals, the biggest and most important of which was in the Merseyside derby, a match that proved to be Rodgers’ last.
That would lead to Klopp’s appointment, an opportunity for Ings to continue his fine form under a world-class manager.
However, in a cruel twist of fate, the striker damaged his ligaments in his new boss’ first viewing of him in training, with the fact he would be sidelined for the rest of the season confirming his bitter-sweet start to life at the club.
Ings would make his return from his injury nightmare in the final game of his and Klopp’s first season at the club.
A second half appearance from the substitutes’ bench offered him some mental salvation and hope that he would regain his fitness and resume his Liverpool career. His manager’s first pre-season in charge offered him that opportunity and he duly took it, making a handful of appearances and scoring two goals.
As a result, Ings found himself back where it all started: competitive matches just around the corner and training sessions with the team offering a chance to impress Klopp and return to first team action.
Lack of opportunities
Realistically, it was never going to be easy for Ings as the German boss has already put together a talented squad capable of challenging for top honours.
This season, with the likes of Roberto Firmino ahead of him in the pecking order, the former Burnley man has struggled for game time and he has had to go searching in the reserves as a result. However, you would be wrong to think he was sulking about it as the striker has been doing the exact opposite.
Ings has scored seven times in the Premier League Cup for the under-23s this season and has accompanied those goals with some good performances for Michael Beale’s side.
Adding to his new-found fitness and it is clear that the 24-year-old is using his time with the youngsters to pave a road back into the first team.
When will he get his chance?
Ings has, so far, only made one appearance for the first team this season, a substitute appearance for Liverpool in their third round match at Derby County.
The Englishman shouldn’t count himself unfortunate because, as already mentioned, competition for striking places in boss Klopp’s side is tight – so tight that even his fellow countryman Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi can hardly get a look in.
Ings should, however, feel encouraged by the fact that both the club and his manager rejected advances for his signature, from fellow Premier League clubs during the summer, which is a great indication that his future lies at Anfield.
As for when he will get that much-deserved first start this season, Ings has so far handled playing in the reserve team professionally and knowing that Klopp rewards such an attitude, continuing in that manner will surely see the Englishman get his opportunity sooner rather than later.