Adam Lallana believes Danny Ings‘ season-ending knee injury was a “huge blow” to Liverpool’s chances in 2016/17, with the Reds sapped of options.
Ings spent the majority of the 2015/16 campaign on the sidelines after rupturing his ACL shortly after Jurgen Klopp arrived as manager at Anfield.
After making an early recovery to return to the field at the end of last season away to West Brom, Ings took time to work back to full fitness.
But this was derailed by another knee injury, having made just two first-team appearances for the Reds this term, with the striker ruled out in November.
Lallana believes Ings’ bad luck has seen Liverpool suffer this season, with Klopp lacking a versatile option in attack.
“Certain injuries hurt us. Missing Danny Ings this season was a huge blow,” he told the Liverpool Echo.
“There were times early on in the season when he’d been training brilliantly and didn’t make the bench.
“Then around the same time as he got his injury, a few others got hurt which would have opened the door for him.
“There have been a number of games this season where you think: ‘If only we had Danny Ings fit and available, running the channels, busting a gut and getting his goals.’
“Having him back for pre-season will be like a new signing.”
There were certainly times during this season when Klopp would have benefited from a flexible, hardworking forward like Ings in his ranks.
While the 24-year-old is primarily a centre-forward, he can operate on either flank or as a deeper attacking option, and this would have boosted Klopp’s forward line significantly.
When both Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane were absent, for example, Ings could have supported the likes of Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi.
Instead, Klopp was forced to experiment, fielding both Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum out of their most effective roles, and turning to youngsters such as Harry Wilson and Ben Woodburn.
Ings’ consecutive injuries are a major concern for Klopp, as his mobility may be affected after setbacks in both knees, but this remains to be seen.
If Ings is able to return, and provide the Reds with similar qualities as he did in his initial run at the start of 2015/16, he will be a useful alternative for Klopp.
Lallana will be among those to welcome Ings back into the fold, as he has clearly made his mark despite playing just 11 games for the Reds so far.