Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has praised striker Danny Ings’ return to the first-team from injury, claiming his Champions League debut was a ‘wonderful story’. Ings has endured an injury-prone time at Anfield since moving from Burnley in 2015. However, he has now recovered from the successive knee injuries that stalled his career and has fought his way back into the first-team.
The 25-year-old marked his Champions League debut in some style with an assist as Liverpool ran out 5-0 winners at Porto in the first leg of their last-16 tie last Wednesday.
Klopp has hailed the progress made by Ings, whose Porto outing was just his 6th appearance in all competitions since attaining full fitness this season.
“It was fantastic but he deserves it, really,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com.
“Danny is in a fantastic shape. It always takes time. When I came in, it was such a long time [before I could work with him] because in the first session he got injured. Unbelievable. Now, after two-and-a-half years, he can play in the Champions League. It’s a wonderful story, it’s really deserved.
“It’s really hard in the moment to make the squad; we’ve had a few players, not in the squad. Wow, I’ve never had a situation like that with the quality of the players not being in the squad. They all have made really big steps. Dom Solanke was not in the squad but is in outstanding shape at the moment. Ragnar Klavan, unbelievable. Ben Woodburn makes steps and is really close to everything.
“It’s difficult, it’s getting more and more difficult, but that’s good – very good – for us of course.
“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.”
Now that the one-time England international is back to full fitness, the Liverpool boss believes the striker is ‘knocking on the door’ of the Reds’ first-team line-up.
“Yes, absolutely [Danny is knocking on the door],” our boss added. “It’s good. He needed time. A few months ago it was different, but a player like him when they come back they think, ‘I am under pressure’ and they want to come in immediately and get game time.
“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.”
It is really wonderful to see Ings raring to go after coming back from injury. He is a quality striker and could become a vital player at least until the end of the season with Daniel Sturridge now not at the club.