Danny Ings has overcome injury woes to fulfil Liverpool potential at Southampton

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Danny Ings has taken the Premier League by storm this season as the tireless work put in to recover from serious injuries is beginning to pay off.

Back in October, after a 9-0 defeat to Leicester was followed up by back-to-back games against defending champions Man City, it looked like Ralph Hasenhuttl’s days at Southampton were over.

A loss at Everton followed in early November and was surely the final straw, but the Saints board stuck with the Austrian, who has since been able to turn things thanks to the form of a former Liverpool striker.

Following their Premier League defeat at City, Ings has scored in all but one of the games he has started, and the club have taken 13 points from their last seven.

Only Jamie Vardy and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have more Premier League goals than Ings this season, and the 27-year-old has really found his feet under Hasenhuttl.

His goals have helped a team that was struggling, hovering around the relegation spots with a manager on the brink of being sacked, to turn their season around.

Ings’ 12 goals this campaign make this his best return in the Premier League and the season is only at the halfway point.

His best-ever tally came for Burnley in the Championship when he scored 21 goals in 40 games, but in terms of goals per game, or goals per 90 minutes played, he has never been better.

He is currently averaging a goal every 105 minutes on average in all competitions—or 0.85 goals per 90 minutes.

He has 22 goals in 47 games in total for Southampton, which is his best goals-per-game record at any of his clubs to date.

Hasenhuttl has been quick to praise the Englishman, who has put in a ridiculous amount of work off the pitch—as anyone at Liverpool will tell you—to come back from injuries which could have seen his career peter out.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 17, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp and Southampton's manager Ralph Hasenhüttl before the FA Premier League match between Southampton FC and Liverpool FC at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He even suggested he could be in the reckoning for a place in the England squad.

“At the moment he is fit, he can score, and we’re all happy about that because last season he had big problems with his injuries and was a long time out,” said the Saints boss.

“It’s good to have more English strikers who can score. He’s a typical No. 9 in the box. With his technique, there are not many strikers who are better than him.

“The good thing is, it’s not my job to decide [if Ings makes the England squad], I have to make so many decisions every day but this one I don’t have to do and it’s good.

“It’s nice for England that they have a lot of very good strikers and Ings is one of them.”

Ings recently became just the third Southampton striker to reach double figures in the Premier League before the turn of the year, joining club legends Matt Le Tissier and James Beattie.

Southampton's Danny Ings during the Premier League match at St Mary's, Southampton (Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/PA Images)

“At the moment he has so much self-confidence when he is in the box,” added Hasenhuttl.

“I’m happy for him, he works very hard and this is why he deserves to score at the moment. We all know it’s important that he is fit now and he helps us massively.”

From a Liverpool perspective, it is warming to see Ings back performing to the high standards that earned his move to Anfield back in 2015, on the back of two long-term knee injuries.

Last season, he was unable to play against the Reds due to the terms of his loan agreement, but having already scored in the meeting at St Mary’s in August, he will no doubt be a key focus for Jurgen Klopp and his staff on February 1.

 

Notes from the press box

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 21, 2019: Sheffield United's Lys Mousset (L) celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mate Oliver McBurnie during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Sheffield United FC at Goodison Park. Sheffield United won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sheffield United could be Liverpool’s toughest game

As was the case with Wolves, Liverpool’s next game sees them take on another side who have just played Man City, giving them a good insight as to what they can expect.

But even knowing what Sheffield United are going to do doesn’t mean they can be beaten.

Tactically, they have been the most impressive side in the league this season, and the league leaders should see this as a tough a test as Leicester or Wolves.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 5, 2016: Manchester City's coach Mikael Arteta during the FA Premier League match against Middlesbrough at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Arteta’s Arsenal looks good but still can’t win

Mikel Arteta’s second game in charge of Arsenal looked like it would lead to his first victory, but some changes from Frank Lampard helped Chelsea come back from 1-0 down to win 2-1.

If the size of Arteta’s task was not evident after the 1-1 draw with Bournemouth in his first game, it is now.

The Gunners sit 12th in the table, behind Wolves, Crystal Palace, Everton and Newcastle, and are now 11 points off fourth-placed Chelsea.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 12, 2019: Manchester United's Anthony Martial during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg match between Manchester United FC and Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Martial finally realising Monaco promise

During his time at Monaco, Anthony Martial was considered one of the best young attacking prospects in Europe.

In 2015, he was presented with European Golden Boy award which is given to the best young player on the continent.

The problem was he joined Man United when the club were in a mess, and it wasn’t the stable platform he needed for his talents.

But as the focal point under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he has shown glimpses of the star potential he had at Monaco and, like Ings, has already reached double figures for the season.

Speaking of promising strikers, United were also interested in signing Erling Braut Haaland, but the Leeds-born Norwegian wonderkid turned them down after being advised that a move to Dortmund would be better for his development.

It’s a sign of where Solskjaer’s side are currently at on the European stage.

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