Is Danny Ings a good enough signing for Liverpool?

For quite some time, the height of Liverpool's ambitions in the transfer market have been incredibly underwhelming, just as much of the transfers themselves have been.

Their poor windows in recent years, more often than not, have stemmed from an inability to attract their top targets, who reject Liverpool for the lure of Champions League football or higher wages elsewhere.

The likes of Willian, Mohamed Salah, Diego Costa, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and most recently Alexis Sanchez - within the last three years alone - are all fine examples of players evaluted as priority targets who ended up rejecting the Reds.

That has certainly not prevented criticism of Liverpool's lack of top-class signings under Brendan Rodgers, who has overseen a raft of signings brought in for their future potential, as opposed to their immediate impact.

The 42-year-old, across three years at the Anfield helm, has so far spent just shy of £212 million on 25 players, if the recent addition of James Milner on a free transfer is included.

Analysing those signings in further depth, only two have made a real impact on the Northern Irishman and his side. Those two, of course, are January 2013 signings Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho - who totalled a combined outlay of £20.5 million.

The other 22 have had largely inconsistent impacts, none of which have really helped Rodgers' case in trying to restore Liverpool to their former glories, regardless of their potential to do so further down the line.

Rodgers' poor transfer record on Merseyside is well documented by now, but it is clear that he will still be allowed some leeway this summer when it comes to adding new players to his side in what could prove to be his final year, if things continue on the current path.

The signing of Milner, for all intents and purposes, looked to be primarily Rodgers' doing - with owners Fenway Sports Group granting the funds for the transfer to go ahead, adding much-needed experience to a youthful crop.

The latest addition, as Rodgers looks to put the dismal 2014-15 season in the past and regain the support and respect of the Liverpool supporters, is Burnley's Danny Ings.

Perhaps more of a transfer committee signing, given his age, but another homegrown out-of-contract signing who helps improve Rodgers' squad as a whole - the general impression upon Ings' signature is a positive one, but there is a feeling that more needs to come afterwards.

After all, this summer, Rodgers has to get it right. If he fails to improve upon the disappointing sixth-placed finish of last year, he will almost certainly face the sack and the struggle of his summer signings to make their desired impacts at Anfield certainly played their part in that dismal campaign. Therefore, he must target players capable of making their presence known from the off next season, or else he may find himself under growing scrutiny.

Ings, generally perceived as a decent standard player already, but one who can still make improvements, arrives after the Clarets were relegated to the Championship just a year after their return to the top-flight and to his credit, he had a fairly good first year in the Premier League.

The 22-year-old directly helped Burnley to 13 of their 33 points - whilst he also helped Sean Dyche's side to two further points with goals in 3-3 and 2-2 draws. His assists also helped yield five more points, meaning in total - he had an influence in earning 60% of Burnley's points, even though they were relegated. 

Furthermore - on paper, the signing makes a lot of sense. A young homegrown striker for a minimal fee (to be decided by independent tribunal) in an area where Liverpool performed woefully last season.

The obvious question is, does Danny Ings resemble a clear upgrade on what Liverpool have already got?

Having scored 11 goals for Burnley the easy answer looks to be yes. That is, when you consider Liverpool's out-and-out strikers managed just eight league goals in total last season, whilst the Reds' top scorer overall was departing captain Steven Gerrard - with just nine.

The Reds managed just 52 goals across their squad, a disastrous drop from the 101 they scored the year before, so Ings' tally in a Liverpool side last season would have represented almost one quarter of their overall total.

But considering the Liverpool strikeforce's miniscule totals compared to Ings - is that a sign of the 22-year-old's quality, or an indictment of just how badly the Reds' front-line underperformed?

Perhaps a mix of both, but the latter is virtually undeniable. 

Daniel Sturridge was expected to take the mantle left by a certain Uruguayan, only to be struck by injuries at every turn. Having managed 21 goals in 29 games in 2013-14, the Englishman managed only 12 league appearances last term, scoring four goals as various troublesome niggles meant he played a minor part throughout the campaign. 

Elsewhere, Mario Balotelli did not return much from his £16 million transfer fee, though he was from helped by the fact he was played in a formation, and a system, unsuited to him.

Back-up striker Fabio Borini - who Liverpool so nearly got £14 million for last summer - has failed to live up to the potential he arrived on Merseyside with back in 2012 despite a relatively successful loan stint at Sunderland, whilst Rickie Lambert was only ever realistically brought in as a squad player, so was never expected to deal with the goalscoring burden.

Looking to the future - Sturridge aside, it is difficult to see the rest in a red shirt next season. If they were all to leave, with the arrival of Divock Origi after a year on-loan, the Reds would have two main strikers.

And so, in the respect of adding much-needed depth to the forward line - the addition of Ings is vital, especially with Sturridge's ongoing injury woes which will keep him out until at least a month into the 2015-16 campaign.

But whether Ings is significantly better than the likes of Borini, for example, is debatable. Certainly, he is not the necessary quality needed in order to help spearhead Liverpool to a top-four finish, not yet at least.

Nevertheless, the England international - who will represent his country at the U21 European Championship in Czech Republic this summer, certainly brings a number of qualities to Anfield.

Ings is clearly a capable finisher, having managed a shot accuracy of 43% throughout the season at Turf Moor. 33% of his shots that have been target, have been turned into goals, if that wasn't impressive enough. 

The striker is also known for a tenacious work-rate, something that will put him in good stead at Merseyside. Pressing and movement are key in Rodgers' current system, and Ings will have no issues with that having done so with aplomb in Dyche's 4-4-2.

Overall, his passing may not be all that impressive - averaging just 71% pass accuracy, but he has managed little under an average of a key pass per game - whilst the closest of Liverpool's strikers, despite their inconsistent periods in the squad, managed only 11. 

Therefore, it would not be too far to suggest that Ings is equally as capable of creating opportunities for others too - and whilst he managed only four assists for the Clarets, those statistics are likely made disproportionate by the fact that the Burnley side was stripped of other quality attacking players, with Sam Vokes - who Ings linked up well with in the Championship - injured for much of the campaign.

For his age, Ings has plenty of qualities, and whilst he's never likely to be a world-beater - he can certainly prove a shrewd signing if he is used correctly.

It would be fair to say that Ings, if he was used as third or fourth choice, would represent even better business for a fee likely to be around £5 million. 

But, given Liverpool's recent years, in which they have struggled to attract the calibre of players that could help inspire a return to the Champions League, it would be little surprise if Ings was to be the only out-and-out striker they bring in this summer.

Alongside the likes of Adam Bogdan, at first glance the signing of Ings does not show much ambition to break back into the top-four. Rather, it seems a cop-out whilst the likes of Tottenham Hotspur look at Anthony Martial and names such as Carlos Bacca and Jackson Martinez are bandied about with other top-four or Champions League-chasing sides.

There is certainly an impression that Liverpool can do better, or they can at least try - and perhaps they will, with the backroom exodus looking likely to see an upheaval of the current committee.

Nevertheless - Ings' signing has merits. Whilst he is not yet established, having only impressed for a relegated side, the Englishman is a hard-working young striker with plenty of qualities that mean he could become a useful asset for Rodgers in a hectic schedule which will require him to correctly juggle his squad for a number of competitions.

With that being said, Fenway Sports Group will have to prove that signings of a higher calibre are coming - because strategy of bringing in a raft of low-risk additions like Ings has proven far from reliable in the past.

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