Danny Ings wasn't the transfer mistake this writer previously thought and proved to be a signing supporters connected with during an underwhelming start to the season under former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. A striker who looked to have a place under Jürgen Klopp has to watch the team and various players go on a journey of rediscovery without him. While Ings will be happy that his teammates are doing well, there must be times when watching Liverpool must be quite difficult indeed.
It's easy to forget about players such as Danny Ings and Joe Gomez—the only two Liverpool players who are ruled out for the entire season—while Liverpool conduct lessons at Stamford Bridge, the Etihad, and St Mary's. During games it's natural to focus on the present and those who can assist the club over the course of 90 minutes. Both are young enough to come back from cruciate knee ligament injuries and should be useful to Klopp next season in their respective central defensive and attacking positions.
For Ings, however, he couldn't hide his disappointment at suffering an injury when all his hard work was beginning to pay off at both club and international level. Joining Liverpool and gaining international recognition with England is one thing, showing that such status is merited is another. By October, Ings had scored three goals for his new club in eight games and shown that he wasn't a passenger before disaster struck.
"When I got the injury I said straight away I will play again before the season finishes," Ings said. "But I think with the advice I've had of the surgeons and physios, I know they won't risk me and I don't want to risk it myself. This is all about the highs and lows of football. I was at the happiest point of my career and then, at the time of the injury, I felt like I was at my lowest point.
"I just felt like I got my foot in the door. I was becoming established here at Liverpool, playing games and scoring goals, keeping my place in the team and had made my debut for England, then somebody took that all away from me. It is absolutely gutting because football has been my life. If I can't do what I love doing then it is like someone having their kids taken away from them. That is how I felt. I know that I am going to come back extremely strong."
The return of Danny Ings is going to be great for Liverpool next season. His attitude, application, movement, hunger, professionalism, mobility, and appetite for goals will make him an extremely useful member of the squad for a manager with Klopp's particular approach to the game. The efforts of Ings earlier in the season haven't been forgotten by Liverpool fans, and it shouldn't be forgotten that his form earned a chant from the home crowd to the tune of "Daddy Cool" by Boney M.
He will come back, and there's something he'll feel fortunate about when he returns. Many young English players looking at Liverpool's progress would probably love to play under Jürgen Klopp. Ings has already secured a move to a big club and will experience hugs, slaps, and inspiration next season. Maybe he's received a few hugs already! Klopp is an intelligent manager and will be aware of the progress Ings made when Liverpool were struggling.
Daniel Sturridge, Christian Benteke, Divock Origi, and Roberto Firmino provide a variety of options in attack. Danny Ings, though, will join them soon enough.