The game against Norwich was supposed to be about the return of one Danny. Danny Sturridge. The Liverpool number 15 was making his long awaited return and Liverpool fans (and management) hoped he’d be one to light the fire for the Liverpool attack that’s been terribly lacking in the opening five games. However it was the other Danny, Danny Ings, that fired the Reds into a second half lead and generally impressed in his 45 minute cameo. With the attention being on Sturridge and Christian Benteke, it may be Danny Ings that can quietly go about his business away from the pressures of being the leading Liverpool Striker.
Liverpool did look brighter with Sturridge in their forward line. His presence would’ve inspired his teammates and planted a seed of doubt in the Norwich defence. It’s not often you face a striker of Sturridge’s calibre and beside Benteke on paper Liverpool have quiet the duo. They looked rusty though. It’s understandable and there were flashes of them linking up but I think Liverpool really came into life with the introduction of Danny Ings who replaced Benteke at half-time.
I was a fan of Ings at Burnley, I did say he probably needed a move to a mid-table side to really cut his teeth in the Premier League before a potential bigger move but if his cameos are anything to go by then the move to Liverpool may have been a shrewd one. His movement and work rate is impressive but what I really liked is how early he always seems to takes his shots.
He finally got his first start against Manchester United in the 3-0 defeat. He was playing a role that was familiar to him during his Burnley days; wide left. However, as bizarre as it sounds, Ings found himself doing more defensive work for Liverpool than he did for Burnley and he was operating almost as a left wing-back at times. Liverpool have a reputation for playing players in unnatural positions and then they’re judged on that. Unlike others though, Ings seemed to understand the nature of the match. Even at 2-0 down he wasn’t giving up. He was taking it to United. Unlucky not to score on two occasions and the acrobatic effort he had that called De Gea into action was superb. You see those glimpses, when he’s central, and can’t help but wonder why Rodgers used him out wide.
Then his moment came against Norwich as a replacement for the injured Benteke. I won’t lie, when I heard Benteke was injured and Ings was coming on I thought we’d revert to 4231 and have Ings from wide yet again but much to my delight we stuck with two strikers. Two mobile strikers. Something we haven’t had since Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge decided to run riot in 2013/14. It’s what many fans wanted in the summer, a striker that is stylistically similar to Suarez. A striker that’d harass, press and just be a nuisance for the benefit of the team whilst simultaneously creating space for Daniel Sturridge and that’s what Danny Ings did in his cameo alongside Sturridge.
Ings took his goal superbly but how long has it been since we’ve had two strikers capable of running off the shoulders of the defenders? As soon as Moreno picked the ball up we seen both the Danny’s turn and run towards goal and it created so much space. You had two strikers capable and comfortable when coming short for the ball and getting in behind. Liverpool automatically had another dimension to their attack.
Much to Ings’ credit Liverpool didn’t seem to miss Sturridge when he was subbed off after an hour. I’m not saying Ings is better than Sturridge, I’m saying he put in an impressive performance today and we seemed to have a lively striker on the pitch despite Sturridge being subbed off. There is no better way to adhere yourself to the Kop than to show fight and passion and that’s exactly what Ings did. Chasing an overhit pass that was running out of play for a goal kick he managed to keep it in for a throw in and to keep Norwich pinned in their half. We’ve lacked leaders lately and the fact Ings took the ball off of our captain and rounded Ruddy was encouraging to me. He may have ran the ball out of play but to have the confidence to take the ball off of Milner in front of the Kop shouldn’t be ignored.
The stats backed it up too. The new number 28 played 45 minutes, managed 2 shots, scored 1 goal and had a 78% pass success rate. Not a bad day at the office.
Dave Hendrick nicknamed Ings the Hampshire Tevez and it’ll be a nickname that sticks. He has the characteristics, the style and the dogged fight in his play that means it’s an easy comparison to make and he shouldn’t be a player we as fans overlook. He could have a big impact on the season and if Liverpool are now looking to use two strikers then Ings is probably the one striker we have on our books capable of partnering all of them. Our season may hinge once again on Daniel Sturridge but let’s not forget about the other Danny we have.