- Danny Ings opens up on gradual return to fitness
- Stiker has featured predominantly for Liverpool’s U23s this season
- Ings made Champions League debut in Wednesday’s win over Porto
- SEE MORE: (Video) Watch Mo Salah score stunner in Marbella training session
Danny Ings admits he had to harness a familiar patience during his gradual return to first team involvement this season.
The striker spent the early months of the season continuing his rehabilitation with Liverpool’s U23s after recovering from his second season-ending knee injury in two years at the club.
Ings has since put himself back into first team contention courtesy of his admirable efforts in Neil Critchley’s side and Jurgen Klopp deeming him a valuable option in the second half of the season.
A Champions League debut in Wednesday’s 5-0 win over Porto marked an achievement Ings once feared might be never be possible.
“I’ve been fit but we’ve got such a quality group of lads. I had to be patient; the manager didn’t think I was quite ready for the early months of the season,” Ings told Liverpoolfc.com.
“But to be part of it now and getting minutes on the pitch, and to play in a competition like the Champions League, is huge. So I’m happy.”
“It was something that a few months ago I probably thought maybe wouldn’t have happened. So to be in the Champions League squad, get minutes and play a part in the fifth goal to help Sadio get his hat-trick was very nice.”
Philippe Coutinho’s £142million move to Barcelona and Daniel Sturridge’s loan switch to West Brom have both somewhat paved the way for Ings to vie for game time over the coming months.
Klopp’s rotation has also invited fierce competition for places, although Liverpool’s exit from both domestic cup competitions does make breaking into the team a tough ask for Ings.
That comes purely down to the form of the Reds’ notorious front three, who have combined for a remarkable 63 goals already this season.
Liverpool’s healthy advantage over Porto could grant Klopp the freedom to give Ings a run-out at some point in the second leg, in aid of giving the striker valuable minutes and resting key players ahead of the trip to face Manchester United at Old Trafford.