Sanjay Nair argues that Danny Ings should play in the second leg of Liverpool’s round of 16 tie with Porto after the Reds’ walloped the Portuguese team in the Champions League.
It was not long ago that Danny Ings was touted for great things, owing largely to the manner in which he made progress through the lower rungs of English football to finally land a dream move to Liverpool.
His goalscoring ability was seen from the off in his formative years, coming through the Bournemouth academy before making the senior team and eventually being loaned out to play in Conference football.
However, it was at Burnley in the 2013-14 season that he really made a name for himself, scoring 21 goals that would eventually make him a hot property for Premier League clubs. Although the 2014-2015 season in which Ings made his Premier League debut was not as fruitful, with just 11 goals coming in 35 games, the potential did not go unnoticed and soon after Liverpool came calling.
Two serious injuries to both knees in two seasons has made the start to his career at Liverpool far from ideal. A return from any sort of injury is always difficult and more so into a high-octane system such as Klopp’s where speed is the paramount factor.
Supremely talented players such as Lallana and Sturridge too have found it difficult to cope immediately upon return, with Klopp finally losing patience with the latter and approving his loan to West Bromwich Albion.
However, Danny Ings can take heart from the fact that Klopp seems to have faith in him and more importantly seems to have Ings in his plans. Substitute appearances in the defeats against Swansea, West Bromwich Albion gave ample proof that the manager sees Ings as a player who can make a difference and add impetus to the attack when required.
A Champions League debut, albeit as a late substitute, soon followed and it is noteworthy that Ings made a telling contribution with an assist to set up Sadio Mané for Liverpool’s fifth goal in the limited time he was given.
The return leg against Porto at home, now a mere formality barring the unthinkable, would be the ideal opportunity for Ings to make a start as there would hardly be any pressure thanks to the demolition in the first leg.
With must-win games against West Ham and Newcastle at home prior to Porto coming up, it is unlikely that Klopp will tinker with the current front-three of Mané, Firmino and Salah.
With that in mind, a well-deserved rest for one or two of them would be ideal with the visit to Old Trafford soon after the Porto match. A good performance from Ings against Porto would also go a long way in providing Liverpool with good cover should one of the current front-three pick up an unfortunate injury at a critical time in the season.
Having decided against sending him out on loan, it is imperative for the manager to give Ings this opportunity to transition from a bits-and-parts player to that of an impact player which will undoubtedly build his confidence. That, or else it will become very evident that Danny Ings simply does not have a long-term future at Liverpool.
At only 25, with two major injury setbacks firmly behind him, one would hope that Ings’ best is yet to come and he can push from hereon to fulfill his promise of becoming one of the Premier League’s top forwards with Liverpool Football Club.