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A Tale of Liverpool’s Two Dans

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How Danny Ings became the striker Jürgen Klopp chose to keep

Liverpool Training Session
Danny Ings during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on February 2, 2018. 
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Danny Ings became a Liverpool player in the summer (June) transfer window of 2015. He had helped his former team Burnley (whom he signed for in 2011) gain promotion to the Premier League as the runners-up to the Championship and won the Championship Player of the Season at the end of the 2013-2014 season. Ings had scored 43 goals during his 130 appearances for the Clarets with 11 (in 35 appearances) of those goals being scored during Burnley’s 2014-15 Premier League season.

Ings made his Liverpool debut at Anfield on 29 August 2015 against West Ham and scored his first goal for the club on 20 September 2015 when he came on as a substitute for Christian Benteke at half time and followed that up with a goal against Everton on 4 October 2015. Sadly, Ings suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in his left knee during his first training session under then new manager, Jürgen Klopp on 15 October 2015 and was ruled out for the remainder of the season. Although he returned sooner than anticipated, Ings began the 2016-17 season playing with the reserves to regain his fitness. He then sustained damage to his right knee in a League Cup match against Tottenham on 25 October 2016. The surgery to repair the damage was successful and Ings began his rehabilitation at Melwood on 9 November 2016.

His next match would come 11 months after his second injury, as a substitute against Leceister City in the English League Cup on 19 September 2017.

Before Danny sustained his second injury, Klopp had paid tribute to his hard work during training and had intended to give him some game time when the opportunity arose, saying;

Danny is working hard and good, but the situation is like it is – we have a lot of strikers. It’s not the easiest thing when a player works really hard and then he is not involved, so of course you want to give the player something back for the unrest. It is not always possible – but as soon as it is possible, I will pay back.

In early December last year, it seemed inevitable that Ings would be sent out on loan as the club had been inundated with requests about his potential availability, as he had by then only managed 17 minutes of first team football. Danny had spent the first half of this season regaining his fitness and building up his strength with the under 23’s and found himself fourth in the strike force pecking order. However, he decided that he would force his way into Klopp’s plans and work even harder. Having blown everyone (including Klopp) away with his tenacity and attitude during his gruelling rehabilitation, he summoned the same demeanour during training at Melwood and soon opportunities started coming his way. He came on as a substitute against Everton at Anfield earlier this season which was his first PL appearance since May 2016.

Despite not yet scoring a goal under his management, it seems that Klopp has seen enough of Ings and feels comfortable with his abilities to have warranted the sanctioning of Daniel Sturridge’s loan move to West Brom.

Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round
Klopp hugs Ings during The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion at Anfield on January 27, 2018.
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Prior to transfer deadline day, Klopp had this to say about Ings’ prospects;

It would be funny if someone calls for Ingsy, I would love to respond. No chance. We will see what happens. There’s no chance Ingsy is on the market tomorrow. Only if I’m unconscious!

and Sturridge’s move to the Baggies;

If you want to go to a World Cup, which is Daniel’s (Sturridge) ambitions, then it makes more than sense, I would say!

How much he features in the coming months will depend on Firmino’s fitness and our position in the Champion’s League; but Danny Ings' energy and tenacity are exactly the characteristics that Klopp looks for in a striker, and he is now Firmino’s understudy.

Danny Ings is in the shape of his life and has earned his place in Klopp’s plans. Here’s hoping we get to see more of him in the months ahead.

Up the Reds!