Jurgen Klopp has refused to rule out a return to first-team action for long-term absentee Danny Ings before the end of the current Premier League season. The 23-year-old, who arrived at Anfield from relegated Burnley last summer, scored three goals in nine appearances before seeing his progress curtailed by surgery on a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament suffered during Jurgen Klopp's very first training session, back in October.
The blow came just days after Ings had made his senior England debut, replacing Harry Kane during the second half of a 3-0 Euro 2016 qualifying victory in Lithuania, and was widely expected to keep him out for at least six months. However, his rehabilitation has continued ahead of schedule and the former Bournemouth forward began doing outside work in February, before returning to full training with the U21 side earlier this week.
Speaking on his possible comeback at a pre-match press conference held ahead of the weekend trip to Swansea City, Klopp was quoted as saying by Liverpool's official website: "We have to see. I didn't see the session yesterday, I have to speak to the U21 coach and Danny. We have a few games to play and we'll see what happens.
"We will see if there is an opportunity this season and if we should try it then or not. Or if he should use the summer break for improving everything and then he will start at 100% in pre-season. That's very good for us. Now this new point of development, being back in training, is very good for him."
Ings also made headlines on 28 April, when the long-running issue of his compensation fee was finally decided at a tribunal. Although he was out of contract at Burnley, his age meant that the Championship promotion contenders still had to be reimbursed for their role in his development. The two parties initially failed to settle upon an acceptable price and the Professional Football Compensation Committee (PFCC) has now ruled that Liverpool must pay a guaranteed £6.5m ($9.5m) up front, with an extra £1.5m dependent upon appearances. The Clarets are also due 20% of any future profit from the sale of the player.
Klopp has remained coy on team selection for Swansea and bemoaned the fact that his side must kick-off at Sunday lunchtime (1 May), after arriving back from the Europa League semi-final first-leg defeat to Villarreal in the early hours of Friday morning. Widespread changes are likely with the return fixture to come just four days later. The manager revealed that back-up goalkeeper Danny Ward could be set to deputise for Simon Mignolet in what would be only his second top-flight outing following an impressive loan spell with Aberdeen.
"I've had no final talk with [goalkeeping coach] John Achterberg, but it's maybe likely that he will play at Swansea," he said. "I'm not sure in this moment to be honest because I don't know how he feels. He had the same trip without the game, so we need to have a look at this. But yes, he will have one or the other game until the end of the season because of the intensity of our schedule."