Opinion: How big a boost would the return of Danny Ings be for Liverpool this season?

The Liverpool striker has been side-lined since mid-October with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, however he may still feature for the Reds this season as he is nearing full fitness. But how big would his return be?

Opinion: How big a boost would the return of Danny Ings be for Liverpool this season?
Danny Ings is hopeful of a Liverpool return this season. (photo: Getty Images)

Danny Ings has made just eight appearances for Liverpool this season and is yet to even play under Jürgen Klopp, but it seems as though he might have a chance to play for the Reds again this season.

Ings scored twice in five Premier League games for Liverpool and also netted in the League Cup, meaning he is only nine goals off Liverpool’s top scorer Philippe Coutinho, despite being injured for six months, after he made an excellent start to the campaign. 

Liverpool’s No.28 is known for his goalscoring abilities after netting 11 goals with former club Burnley last season and this is something Klopp's side have been lacking all season, a consistent goal scoring striker. Liverpool’s three strikers have only scored a combined 21 goals to this point.

When speaking of Ings’ potential return, Klopp said: "I have to speak to the U21 coach and Danny. We have a few games to play and we’ll see what happens." Klopp added to this by saying that the England international is "a great guy" and admitted that since the striker’s injury he has learned "much more about him as a person than as a professional football player."

Early Ings return would be boost to league campaign in danger of petering out

If Ings was to return before the end of the season he would most likely act as a second-choice striker alongside Daniel Sturridge, something Roberto Firmino had to do a lot this season which stopped him from playing his natural attacking midfield role. Ings’ aggressive and energetic nature will allow him to fit into Klopp’s high-pressure football, which he coined gegenpressing, perfectly.

Liverpool haven’t won in their last three games and could be slipping into a bad run of form, their semi-final clash against Villarreal on Thursday becoming a season defining game which many fans see as a must-win and as their only route back into the famed Champions League.

Danny Ings fires Liverpool into the lead at Goodison Park in October 2015. (Source: Getty)
Danny Ings fires Liverpool into the lead at Goodison Park in October 2015. (Source: Association Press)

Liverpool’s lack of goals this season is mainly due to the injuries their strikers have received. Daniel Sturridge has missed 23 games this season in all competitions due to hip, knee and hamstring injuries respectively.

Meanwhile, Christian Benteke has missed 12 games this season due to thigh problems and a ruptured ligament, although he did make a cameo appearance in Liverpool’s 3-1 loss to Swansea City coming on at halftime and netting Liverpool’s only goal of the game. This goal at Swansea has given Benteke a glimmer of hope that he may be able to revive his career at Merseyside.

With their woes up front, Divock Origi is Liverpool’s most recent loss due to an injury he sustained in a 4-0 victory to Everton. He told LFC TV that he is trying to "improve every day" and that he wants to return "as soon as possible."

The promising young Belgian was a huge part of Liverpool’s good form in April, scoring five goals in the month alone and he was on his way to becoming a fan favourite, however this injury may have halted his season altogether.

As such, Klopp is left with just Sturridge and Benteke as the Reds warm up for their final three league games of the season and their Europa League semi-final second-leg, which could present them with an extra game in the final should things go smoothly.

Ings' return would no doubt be a huge boost, adding to Klopp's limited options but also providing a glimpse into the role he can perform for the Reds next season and beyond. Whether he builds upon the promising start he produced under the previous manager earlier this year is up to him, but there's plenty suggesting he will.