Premier League Career: Burnley (2014-2015), Liverpool FC (2015-2018), Southampton (2018-PRESENT)
In April 2018, Danny Ings opened the scoring for Liverpool FC in their 2-2 away draw with West Bromwich Albion. It ended a 930-day drought without a goal in the Premier League and no-one could deny him the feeling of finding the target again. This is after a horrendous couple of seasons with two serious knee injuries. He decided to return to the team where he started his career in his youth days, Southampton in August 2018.
Released as a schoolboy by the Saints, Ings signed a two-year apprentice contract with their south coast rivals, AFC Bournemouth shortly afterwards and he made 27 appearances for their first-team between 2009 and 2011. He moved to Burnley in the summer of 2011 and linked up again with Eddie Howe, who was Burnley manager at the time and had been the Bournemouth boss whilst Ings was with the Cherries.
His first-team breakthrough looked like it would come in the 2012-2013 season following the departure of Jay Rodriguez to Southampton but after impressing in pre-season, he suffered a serious knee injury, tearing his knee cartilage and forcing him out of action for six months.
Finally, Danny managed to stay clear of the treatment table in 2013-2014 and revelled in the opportunity to play on a week-to-week basis. He ended the season with an impressive tally of 22 goals as Burnley finished second to Leicester City and won promotion to the Premier League. He also held off competition from Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater and Ross McCormack of Leeds United to be voted the Championship Player of the Year at the Football League Awards.
The big question now was whether he could make the step-up successfully to Premier League level. 11 goals in 35 appearances suggested he did in 2014-2015. It took him a while to score his first goal in the top-flight but when it came in a 3-1 home defeat to Everton, it was the lift-off Ings needed for his season. He struck twice in two minutes to ensure Burnley recorded their first away victory of the campaign in November 2014 away at Stoke City and finished as the club’s top scorer for the second successive season.
Ings joined Liverpool FC in the summer of 2015 and was looking to continue his good form from the previous two seasons. His first Premier League goal for the Reds came at The Kop end in September 2015, three minutes after arriving as a half-time substitute in the 1-1 draw with Norwich City. A month later, he opened the scoring in the Merseyside Derby in what turned out to be Brendan Rodgers’ final match in-charge of Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp succeeded Rodgers and in his very first training session, Ings cruelly suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury and was ruled out for the rest of the campaign. His rehabilitation went better than expected and he made a substitute appearance on the final day of the season at West Bromwich Albion. He began 2016-2017 in the reserves’ side in a bid to regain full match fitness with some sporadic outings in League Cup matches. Unfortunately, he replicated his previous injury in his right knee during a League Cup tie with Tottenham Hotspur in October 2016, keeping him on the sidelines again for a lengthy spell. After 11 months absent he returned in September 2017 to first-team action with a substitute appearance in the League Cup loss to Leicester City.
Ings was well-liked by the coaching staff at Melwood and fitted in well into Klopp’s DNA style of high-pressing gameplay. However, the temptation to play more regularly couldn’t be ignored and Southampton snapped him up on the final day of the 2018 summer transfer window, initially on-loan but confirming they would activate an option to make the transfer permanent this summer.
Ings settled in straightaway with goals against Everton, Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion and looks set to have a big impact on the south coast in the coming years.