We all dream of a team of working class heroes. Well, maybe not exactly that, but Reds fans have long loved it when their footballers reflected their working class hearts. Kuyt. Carra. Lucas. All of these players have embodied that spirit of humility and desire to put in an honest shift.
One player on the current squad that we might draw a through line to those Reds of yore from is Danny Ings, who made his Champions League debut in an auspicious way this past week: winning an assist for the Reds’ final goal - helping to secure Sadio Mané’s hat-trick - three minutes after coming onto the pitch. The cameo was a self-described dream debut for the 25 year old striker and one that his boss believes portends major things.
“Danny made it, he came on. It was a high result but it was not about that, it was only because he deserved it and we wanted to give Roberto a little bit of rest, so Danny came on and it was nice to see. He enjoyed it a lot, worked hard, was quick and adapted immediately to the game, so it was a really nice story...It was fantastic but he deserves it, really.”
It was a moment that was a long time coming for Ings - two years in the wilderness long - but one that brought instant joy and gratification to his supporters. Still, it looks as though those rough times are now behind him with Klopp crediting Ings’ willingness to put in the hard work with the U23s - which shouldn’t come as a surprise as his impressive work rate on the pitch would naturally belie that grit and resolve are definitely parts of his personality.
“Danny went the hard way. He played a lot of games for the U23s - a lot of good games. Not all of them were good, but that’s normal. If you feel like a settled player, like he usually is, and then you play U23 and are not the best player on the pitch, then it’s not nice but it’s an important experience again.
“It’s all about getting match time and getting minutes. Then at one point, if the quality is there, he will be back - and that he is back now is very important for us and fantastic for him.”
Fantastic news indeed. If Ings can string together a strong showing, he could well be on his way to being a cult hero in the way of other hardworking, industrious forwards on Merseyside.