Danny Ings is hopeful of returning to full fitness in time for Liverpool's 2017-18 pre-season as he continues his rehabilitation from another long-term knee injury, Jürgen Klopp has said.
The 24-year-old sustained an impact injury to cartilage in his right knee during the Reds' EFL Cup tie with Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield back in October, provisionally ruling him out for between seven and nine months.
Ings' first season on Merseyside the previous year was also cut cruelly short after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in October, ending a spell of fine form that followed his move from Burnley in July 2015.
The England international has made just 11 first-team appearances since that move and Klopp says Ings will not add to that tally until next season.
He explained to reporters: "Danny is not fit. He's in a good way but it will take time. I don't think there is any chance for this season, we're looking at pre-season."
Striker aiming to be fit for pre-season
Ings underwent surgery in November on the injury, Klopp at the time having called himself and his staff "gutted" to be left without the striker's services for another season.
The Reds' No.28's lengthy time on the sidelines leaves somewhat of a cloud of uncertainty over his long-term future at the club, although his style-of-play seems to align well with Klopp's intensive demands.
His return will add vital depth in a position in which Liverpool could oversee several changes in the summer, with Daniel Sturridge's future increasingly uncertain.
With Divock Origi having toiled of late and Roberto Firmino an inconsistent goalscorer despite his evident impact, Klopp could look to bring in a top-class frontman - particularly if Liverpool qualify for next season's Champions League.
And Liverpool will also be keen to ease Ings back in, having spent so much of the past two seasons out injured, with questions inevitably going to be asked as to whether the striker can return the same energetic forward he was before.