Danny Ings is being courted by a quartet of Premier League clubs over a potential January loan move from Liverpool as the one-time England striker aims to revive his career after over two years wrecked by knee injuries.
The former Burnley forward has not started a Premier League game since scoring in the Merseyside derby back in October 2015, Brendan Rodgers’ final match in charge of Liverpool and the day Ings was called up to the England squad for a European Championship qualifier against Lithuania. He subsequently ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Jürgen Klopp’s first training session as manager after his studs caught in the turf, an injury which sidelined him for seven months.
The 25-year-old’s return was subsequently wrecked when he damaged the cartilage in his right knee when tackling Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Winks in an EFL Cup tie early last season, prompting another lengthy absence. Indeed, his only first-team involvement to date this season has been a 17-minute cameo off the bench in a Carabao Cup defeat at Leicester City back in September.
Yet rival clubs have monitored his steady progress with Liverpool’s Under-23s, for whom he scored four times in a Premier League Cup tie against Bristol City and twice more against Stoke in the competition earlier this week. West Ham, whose manager David Moyes had attempted to secure Ings while at Real Sociedad, and Newcastle, who had explored his availability over the summer, are both expected to lodge loan bids but will be joined by other suitors for the forward’s signature and may be joined by Stoke City, for whom Saido Berahino has yet to score a goal.
Crystal Palace are interested, but would have to negotiate the termination of Timothy Fosu-Mensah’s loan move from Manchester United to make any six-month temporary deal possible. The young Dutch international defender has featured in nine topflight games to date and been relatively impressive in a struggling side, but Roy Hodgson – who handed Ings that solitary England cap in Vilnius – boasts defensive cover and is desperate to add to his team’s forward ranks, while also pursuing a new goalkeeper.
Ings’ potential availability may yet prompt West Bromwich Albion and Brighton & Hove Albion to declare their own interest, with Chris Hughton’s attempts to reinforce up front having come to nothing over the summer as he missed out on Vincent Janssen and Romanian Florin Andone on transfer deadline day.
Klopp has monitored Ings’ progress with the development squad closely of late, aware the player’s priority remains to break back into the first-team at Anfield, but has acknowledged others have moved ahead of the Englishman in the pecking order over his prolonged absence. With that in mind, a loan move in January may be beneficial to ensure he gains proper game-time ahead of a return to the fold in future.
“He is not far away,” said Klopp after last month’s victory over Southampton. “The best news is he is really fit. But the problem is we have strikers who have been training for four to five months and he has been in and out. He is not far away, he has been in the middle of it, but in his position we have Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge, Dominic Solanke and they were always involved, more or less. I cannot make the squad bigger. But Danny looks really good, sharp, everything.”