Danny Ings is a decent player who has been tireless as relegated Burnley's star man. The statistics reveal a player who has performed well for a side that has struggled all season. 33 appearances (all starts), 10 goals, and 4 assists. Impressive numbers for a team ranked bottom of the league in goals scored with just 27. He may well continue to surprise Premier League defences next season with his movement, work ethic, decent finishing, dribbling, and surprising competence in the air.
However, playing well for a side that failed to avoid relegation in a mediocre Premier League shouldn't be what Liverpool are looking for. In fact, Liverpool would be advised to avoid the competition entirely when looking for striking talent. Christian Benteke, Charlie Austin, and Saido Berahino lack either the style, consistency, or ability to be a viable alternative to Daniel Sturridge. Sturridge's goalscoring numbers compare with that of Fernando Torres and Luis Suárez. All three purchases ticked the necessary boxes in terms of style, productivity, and immediate impact. Although such players exist in the Premier League, they are simply out of Liverpool's reach.
Ings supposedly represents a "cheap option" that allows Liverpool to focus elsewhere, but is more expensive than some would think with Burnley hoping for up to a £7 million tribunal fee. Could Liverpool not go with a marquee transfer signing, Divock Origi, and Raheem Sterling in Daniel Sturridge's absence? Would that money be useful elsewhere? Iago Aspas and Rickie Lambert represented similar options in previous summers but both proved to be squad players with no future long before their first campaigns were over.
Watching Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho, and Raheem Sterling trouble Chelsea with Lambert toiling up front underlined the need for the right type and quality of player to be ahead of them. Divock Origi and Jerome Sinclair represent a brighter future, while Daniel Sturridge embodies a broken present. Liverpool must look for a player who possesses the ability to take John Keating's advice irrespective of age or nationality. Brendan Rodgers and the transfer committee may have another striker in mind who can seize the day, but haven't Liverpool moved past the need to simply make up the numbers?
Last summer, Liverpool sold the league's best player for a sizeable fee, the third biggest sale in English football after Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo. What followed was a deepening of a squad that lacked depth in the final games of a surprise title challenge. Yesterday, Jordon Ibe was on the bench, Lazar Marković was out of sight, and Liverpool's attacking midfield trio showed the way forward. These five players don't need another ineffective but honest worker in Fabio Borini, a tactically inadequate but talented Mario Balotelli, a lumbering Rickie Lambert, or a worrying repeat prescription. Being considered "an upgrade" on players with pitiful goalscoring returns isn't flattering in the slightest.
James Milner is a player who is expected to move to Liverpool upon the expiration of his contact at Manchester City. Although Milner is 29 and available a free transfer, he's the sort of player who will be extremely useful after proving to be a reliable, hard-running, and creative force for Manchester City in a number of positions. Liverpool need players who have the ability to command a starting place even if they're on the bench. Targeting and acquiring individuals in this mould raises the level of competition within the squad along with improving the prospects of qualifying for the Champions League through a top four finish or unlikely Europa League triumph.
Danny Ings would be an excellent option for a team pushing for a top ten finish that lacks depth in forward positions, and where the former AFC Bournemouth striker would get a real chance to play. Liverpool, however, have been down this path before. If a player like Yevhen Konoplyanka or James Milner is interested in moving to Liverpool without the burden of a transfer fee, it would be unwise to pass such opportunities up, and £7 million wasted for a side without Champions League football isn't a shrewd move when starting players are required for a side that simply cannot keep buying strikers who look out of their depth after a single season. Fabio Borini, Iago Aspas, and Rickie Lambert starred in the season one to three anthology boxset, and it will be of no surprise if Danny Ings ends up taking a similar lead role for season four.
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