Cleat Geeks

Can Ings fire Liverpool back into the Champions League?

Liverpool have confirmed the signing of Danny Ings on a free transfer – hardly sets the pulse racing, does it?DannyIngs

The Reds need a striker, that’s a given. In the Premier League last season, Brendan Rodgers’ men scored 52 goals, compared with the 101 they netted the season before, when they came close to winning the title. In the 2013-2014 season, Luis Suarez bagged 31 league goals and finished as the division’s top goal scorer. The Uruguayan left Anfield for Barcelona before the start of the last campaign and Liverpool’s strikers were unable to fill the void left by Suarez, who scored in the final as Barca won the Champions League on Saturday.

As Liverpool were drawing blanks, Ings was doing his utmost to keep Burnley in the Premier League, following their promotion from the Championship. He won a lot of plaudits, and rightly so, for scoring 11 goals, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Clarets in the top flight.

Liverpool fans saw their side slip from a 2nd place finish two seasons ago to a 6th place finish last term. Their attack was further blunted by an injury to Daniel Sturridge, which saw the England forward ruled out until late December. However, Rodgers did bring in a host of new faces with the $65 million they received from the Suarez deal.

Mario Balotelli came in for a reported $16 million and Rickie Lambert joined after impressing the previous season for Southampton, but between them they could only muster seven goals in all competitions. Fabio Borini struggled to get any game time and could only add one goal, meaning the three forwards made Ings’ goal return seem positively prolific.

But the 22 year-old failed to make the England squad for the games against the Republic of Ireland and Slovenia, despite Sturridge missing out through injury while Harry Kane and Saido Berahino opted to play for the Under 21’s instead. Roy Hodgson called up Leicester’s Jamie Vardy and QPR’s Charlie Austin ahead of Ings, which suggests he is a long way off international honours when everybody is available.RVPSoccer

Finishing 6th in the league means that Liverpool will miss out on Champions League football next season, which will make it harder to attract big name stars to ply their trade at Anfield next season. But surely, with the likes of Manchester United pair Robin Van Persie and Javier Hernandez reportedly available this Summer, there were better options than Ings available.

Mauro Icardi finished as joint top Serie ‘A’ goal scorer last season, scoring 22 league goals for Inter Milan – who won’t be in the Champions League next season either. Perhaps Liverpool could even tempt Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon in France’s top division after his 27 Ligue 1 goals last season.

Don’t get me wrong, the Van Persie’s, Hernandez’s, Icardi’s and Lacazette’s of this world don’t come cheap, but then quality always pays. Bringing in players of the ilk of the aforementioned quartet might help tempt a top quality centre back or a world class goalkeeper to make the move to Merseyside as well.javier-hernandez-real-madrid

But who knows, maybe there is more to come from Ings in the coming years. There will need to be if Liverpool are to get back to the top table of European football. Balotelli has already said that he is staying and Lambert has a further 12 months to run on his current deal. Young Belgian forward Divock Origi will be available after he was loaned back to Lille for last season following his transfer to Liverpool after impressing at last year’s World Cup. Origi managed just eight goals in the French top flight last season, which suggests he still needs to improve if he is to make an impact for the Reds.

If Sturridge’s injury problems persist, Ings will be expected to be the club’s main goal scorer next season, which he may struggle with. Let’s hope he is a success at Anfield and not another Rodgers signing flop.

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