EPL 2016/17: Danny Ings' injury blow and what it means for the Liverpool stiker
This cruel blow for the 24-year-old comes just over a year after he suffered an ACL tear during Jurgen Klopp’s early days - an injury which ruled him out for the entirety of the last season too.
Ings replaced fellow striker Divock Origi last Tuesday, and Anfield gave the man a standing ovation. This was only Ings’ second senior appearance of the season and he was eager to prove himself, being his usual lively self from the moment he came on.
However, according to the club, Ings injured himself when he tried to win the ball back in the same game. A scan later revealed that the striker could be out of action for nearly nine months as he requires surgery on his right knee. This injury is similar to the one that Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck suffered back in May, and he has not made an appearance for the Gunners since then.
The forward was having a brilliant season in the Premier League 2 competition whilst playing with the U-23 team and already had a hat trick and seven goals to his name. Manager Jurgen Klopp called him a “top professional” and added that his chance to prove himself was not far away. After a seven-month layoff due to his previous injury, the work that Ings put into getting himself back on track is highly commendable, which makes this latest blow even harder to digest.
Jurgen Klopp equally disappointed
Jurgen Klopp was also distraught and said, "To say we are gutted would be an understatement; he is such a great boy and has worked so hard that he deserves better luck than this.”
"It is typical of Danny's personality, on and off the pitch that he picked up this injury to his knee when courageously trying to win the ball back for his team by making a tackle. But it is this same personality that means he will come back as good and as strong from this latest setback as he has done in the past,” Klopp added.
There is no doubt as to Ings’ will to come back, but one has to wonder that with the player already being the fourth choice striker at the club, whether this injury spells an end to his short career at Anfield? It is clear that Klopp prefers Roberto Firmino as his first choice striker when everyone is fit, so much so that the Brazilian has even managed to keep the clinical Daniel Sturridge out of the starting eleven. Then there is Divock Origi, a player three years Ings’ junior but one preferred over him most of the time.
Although fans believe that Ings has the work rate and the hunger that Klopp desires from his players, it has been evident that the manager trusts the aforementioned players more than he does Ings. While the ex-Burnley player will be spending the entirety of the remaining season on the sidelines, it is fully possible that Origi will keep getting chances and establish his place in the pecking order.
Also, with Liverpool looking strong in the hunt for a Champions League place, a better striker to replace the 24-year-old could very well be brought in. If Ings got more opportunities this season to show his caliber, then maybe he could have proven himself. However, with this injury, the chances of a successful career at Anfield have deteriorated even further for the Englishman.
The road ahead looks tough for Danny Ings, but the player has proven before that he is not one who gives up easily. If Klopp decides to be patient with his backup striker and if the forward himself can get back to his old form, then there is no question that denying him a position in the team will be a tough task.
For now, let us just hope that he has a speedy recovery and can get his career back on track.