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Gerrard: “He Can Become a Top Striker”

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Many Liverpool fans may have some doubts about new signing Danny Ings, but departing captain Steven Gerrard is convinced he can become a top striker for the club.

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Amongst Liverpool’s three early signings, the vast majority of fans seem to feel most positive about the club having stolen veteran midfielder James Milner away from Manchester City. It’s a move that commits the club to high wages, but it’s for a player who clearly improves the starting eleven and who at 29 years of age should have a good few seasons left at the top of his game.

In the case of Adam Bogdan, there is mostly indifference: he’s cheap and an improvement on Brad Jones, but he isn’t likely to push Simon Mignolet. It’s a deal that’s hard to get all that excited or upset about. Then there’s Danny Ings, who could end up costing the club upwards of £7M in training compensation and who many fear will never be more than depth. Departing captain Steven Gerrard, though, sees things differently.

"The Ings one I’m really excited about because he can be what he wants to be," said Gerrard, setting himself out as amongst the most bullish on Ings’ signing. "I know the talent’s there, that he’s very young, very fresh. I think if he carries on learning and developing he can become a top striker and we love top strikers, so it’s there for him, the stage is there, and I wish him the best of luck and I’m looking forward to watching him play."

Many are concerned that Ings has not so far appeared to have elite potential. That he seems a solid, mid-table striker. Decent movement but not blazing pace. Acceptable but hardly stellar finishing. Average link-up play. There’s clearly potential there, but so far Ings has seemed more workmanlike that budding superstar. Still, some do see more, and Gerrard is hopeful that being around better players will help him to take the next step.

Gerrard is also hoping if Ings ins’t an instant hit, the fans will give him time. Though whether they do may have less to do with anything Ings himself can control and more with whether a proven top line striker can be brought in and how Liverpool as a team start the season. If Ings is forced into the number one role and Liverpool struggle as they did last year, patience may be short—though much of any ire would be aimed elsewhere.

"He might be the type of player that needs a bigger club and thrives on the pressure," added Gerrard. "He’s certainly got the platform here at one of the best clubs in the world to showcase his talents. For me, the supporters just need to be patient with him, he’s still very young and I’m sure he’ll get eased in gently. But, as I say, I’m really looking forward to watching him play."