Liverpool striker Danny Ings joins team-mates for running exercises as he continues injury recovery

Danny Ings has taken another step forward in his recovery from a long-term knee injury after taking part in running drills alongside his Liverpool team-mates.

The Reds have been back for pre-season training at Melwood since Wednesday and Ings joined the rest of Jürgen Klopp's squad for the first time on Saturday.

For the second straight year, he has spent much of his summer at the club's training ground working on his rehabilitation. He is not due to return to full training yet but is considered on track towards a return in the near future as he looks to prove his fitness.

Ings will not be fit enough to feature in either of the club's first two pre-season friendlies next week, against Tranmere Rovers on Wednesday and Wigan Athletic on Friday, but could take to the pitch in Hong Kong for the Premier League Asia Trophy.

The 24-year-old has been out of action since suffering damage to his right knee in an EFL Cup clash with Tottenham Hotspur back in October, just his third game back from an anterior cruciate ligament injury on the same knee.

A Liverpool career derailed by back-to-back long-term injuries

That injury, suffered in October 2015, kept him out for seven months - only making his return on the final day of the season as a substitute away at West Bromwich Albion.

He worked hard over the summer to regain his fitness but was struck another cruel blow when he suffered a knee injury one year on that required surgery and prevented him from playing any further part last season.

The one-cap England international watched from the sidelines as his team-mates ensured a top-four finish and Champions League football for the forthcoming campaign.

He has made just 11 appearances in two years for Liverpool since joining from Burnley in a move eventually decided to be worth £6.5 million, plus £1.5 million in performance-based add-ons, by tribunal.

Two years out injured have inevitably halted the striker's progress and it is uncertain what kind of role Ings will play this season, though Klopp is thought to be an admirer of his work ethic and European football - should Liverpool progress past the final qualifying round to reach the group stages - promises extra opportunities.

Ings, however, will have to battle Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi for the lone striker role - though the make-up of Liverpool's front-line could well change before the season begins on August 12 if Sturridge wishes to leave for more minutes.

Striker taking rehab step-by-step as he once again nears full fitness

Earlier in the week, Ings told Liverpool's official club website that he is "doing really well at the moment" and that while he is reluctant to name a potential return date he is "feeling closer and closer every day" to full fitness.

The frontman, who hasn't started a Liverpool game since scoring in the Merseyside Derby in October 2015, explained: "My fitness levels are getting back, it has been a while. I’m enjoying it and I’m feeling strong."

Ings declared that his current target is to "get as healthy" and "as strong" as possible on the road to recovery, insisting that he wants "to integrate with the lads as soon as possible and just build from there."

He added: "I’m not setting any big targets. I’m trying to accomplish small things at a time. The next one is to integrate with the lads and get back involved."