Danny Ings would have likely pictured his debut season at Liverpool playing out very differently to how it has done.
The 23-year-old arrived from Championship side Burnley last summer after an impressive Premier League campaign and showed initial signs of promise on Merseyside.
However, a cruciate knee ligament injury suffered during his first training session under Jurgen Klopp in October ruled Ings out for six months.
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It’s since been a frustrating road to recovery for the England international, scorer of two league goals in five appearances for Liverpool this season.
There’s light at the end of the tunnel, though, with Klopp revealing that Ings is close to a return in a recent press conference.
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“The first thing, really good news, yesterday he had sessions,” he began, according to the Mirror.
“It’s more important that he is close to being available. I didn’t see the session yesterday. We will see what happens.
“If he’s as good a player as he is a person then we’ll really look forward to seeing him on the pitch.”
Klopp sympathises with Ings for his time on the sidelines.
“I had something like half an hour with him on the pitch. It’s so unlucky I can’t believe,” the German added.
“It’s a very difficult moment in his career. It can help you in building character. He already had a good base in character, but he has developed.
“It’s good to have them (Ings and Joe Gomez). I had a good moment with these two boys, having lunch, but we are all waiting for their comeback on the pitch.”
Ings arrived on a free transfer last summer yet he could end up costing Liverpool £8 million, the striker subject to a tribunal after the Reds and Burnley couldn’t agree on a compensation fee.
£6.5 million of the payment is guaranteed, with a further £1.5 million on offer through add-ons.
Asked for his opinion on the record tribunal fee, Burnley chief executive David Baldwin said: “This is an unprecedented record payment for training compensation and not a transfer fee.
“As the initial fee decided by the committee represents almost double the previous record for a tribunal, this fully justifies our decision to press ahead with what we felt was a fair reflection of the part Burnley played in Danny’s development.”
Klopp also commented on the Englishman’s tribunal fee, but simply said: “I’m not the specialist and I can’t say anything on the amount of money.”
Ings’ imminent return will be welcomed with open arms by Liverpool fans amidst the club’s bid to win the Europa League and secure Champions League football.