After a quick and disappointing end to his first season at Anfield, Danny Ings spent the next six months recovering from a ruptured ACL. He managed to make one final appearance in the last game of the season against West Ham, but hasn't had the chance to get back into the swing of things until the pre-season went into full swing.
Not surprisingly, the 24-year-old England striker is eager for the new season to kick off and to get the opportunity to impress the Kop at home. In California for the pre-season, he spoke about the connection he felt between the team and Liverpool's famous fans, and how he can't wait to rekindle the relationship with them that he'd been cultivating before his unfortunate injury.
"I felt from the first moment I started playing for this club that the connection with the fans was very strong," Ings said. "It was obviously nice to come back from such a long lay off and be welcomed so well, especially away from home. It was fantastic and made me feel really good."
Ings's determination to play just one more game the last season says a lot about the hard work he had to put into his recovery, the pride he takes in his professionalism, and the drive he will have going forward as Liverpool continue to tackle the pre-season and then head into the regular season in a few weeks.
After that ACL injury kept him off the pitch for the better part of ten months, all thoughts will be on Ings's fitness, how his knee is holding up, and whether he will be ready to begin the new season. Tackling the issue of his fitness, Ings said:
"I feel great. I did extra work so I was already in good shape leading into pre-season. I feel like I’m going from strength to strength every day now, physically I’m in top shape and mentally as well.
"It’s fairly similar to last summer in that we’ve had big players come in for big money, and obviously my fee got settled which was much less than they cost. But for me, it’s not about price tags. It’s about your individual qualities, how hard you work and it’s important to make full use of the opportunities when they come.
"The only competition I’ve got now is myself to be honest. I need to be fully ready for whenever I’m picked. Last season I did get my opportunity and I'd to think I took it. I made my debut for my country which I was over the moon about and it was taken away from me a few days later..."
If he remains healthy and finds some of the same form that he had before his injury, Liverpool's attack will look quite potent this season. Ings joins fellow Englishman Daniel Sturridge and the young Divock Origi as options up top, assisted by the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Emre Can, Sadio Mané and Marko Grujić. A lighter schedule thanks to the lack of European football will mean that -- tap wood -- Klopp could field a strong starting XI for every game in all three competitions, if he so chose.
Liverpool's new season begins mid-August against Arsenal, but before then, Ings still needs to impress Klopp in the remaining pre-season matches on their US tour, the next of which is Chelsea on Wednesday/Thursday.