Danny Ings’ unfortunate anterior cruciate ligament injury was not only gutting for the player himself, but it must have been equally frustrating for Jurgen Klopp as his Liverpool side approach a congested juncture in their 2015-16 calendar.
The 23-year-old England striker was in decent form for the Reds this season prior to injury, netting three times out of eight appearances in all competitions.
Ings’ high work rate and energy style mean he would have been one of Klopp’s most valuable strikers, given his decree that all players are to press and work to their maximum in matches while he is at the helm.
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The former Burnley favourite’s absence will be felt, but Liverpool fans, fear not.
In Jerome Sinclair, Liverpool possess a curiously underutilised dynamo of talent who would be more than capable of slotting into the space temporarily vacated by Ings.
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The Birmingham-born striker drips with talent – as can be seen in performance highlight videos on YouTube – demonstrating particularly good dribbling skills and pace.
He showcased his goal scoring ability as well, notching an impressive 22 goals across Liverpool’s U21, U19 and U18 sides for the 2014-15 season – the most notable being his stinging drive against Manchester United U21’s which left 'keeper Victor Valdes for dead.
He also acquitted himself well playing as a lone striker at Chelsea in the league last season after replacing Rickie Lambert in the 68th minute, suggesting he is able to make the cut as a first team regular.
The teenager, though, only managed a total of 25 minutes' playing time for the senior team for the whole of last season – both as a substitute in the away draw at Stamford Bridge and home defeat against Crystal Palace.
The stern-faced youngster will be hoping to chalk up his first league appearance of the season after making the bench for the recent 1-1 draw against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
GAFFER’S PENCHANT FOR BLOODING YOUNG GUNS
His selection for the forenamed fixture was largely due in part to Liverpool’s injury problems, Sinclair should be heartened by his new boss’ inclination towards blooding and developing young players.
At Signal Iduna Park, Klopp brought in a host of promising but relatively unheralded young players – the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic, Ilkay Gundogan, Marco Reus and Shinji Kagawa – and nurtured them into the stars they are today.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Klopp stated: “It’s not important who is the best player today, but the best player tomorrow, because we know who the best players today are, but not tomorrow.”
“That means we can work for this, to improve is the most important thing.
“The biggest satisfaction you can get if you take a player from Poland [Lewandowski], from a small club, and watch him play today – the difference in this player today is unbelievable.” Klopp added.
“When I’m managing a club, each young player should smile because the chance is bigger than it ever was. The door is pretty wide open. Experience is an important point, but not the most.”
It is never pleasant to see a fellow teammate suffer an injury, yet Sinclair is unlikely to get a better opportunity to stake his claim in the first team, even if that means settling for game time in the domestic cups due to intense competition for the starting striker berth.
Sinclair’s talent and potential, though, is apparent, and if he stays grounded and keeps up his hard work, it will surely be only a matter of time before he gets Klopp’s attention and cuts it consistently in the senior squad.
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