Liverpool striker Danny Ings will miss the rest of the season after suffering a second serious knee injury. The 24-year-old will require surgery to correct the issue picked up in the English Football League Cup victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield and is expected to be out for between seven and nine months.
The former Burnley forward ruptured his cruciate knee ligament in training in October 2015 – just days after the appointment of Jurgen Klopp – but returned for the final game of last season against West Bromwich Albion. Ings' appearances have been restricted to the EFL Cup this term yet his involvement during the 2016-17 campaign is likely to be curtailed.
Ings has played just 11 times during his 18-month Liverpool career, but mercifully his latest injury is not to the same knee such he damaged last autumn. Klopp is devastated by the blow and has backed the forward to stage another miraculous recovery.
"To say we are gutted would be an understatement; he is such a great boy and has worked so hard that he deserves better luck than this," the German coach told Liverpool's official website. "It is typical of Danny's personality, on and off the pitch, that he picked up this injury to his knee when courageously trying to win the ball back for his team by making a tackle.
"But it is this same personality that means he will come back as good and as strong from this latest setback as he has done in the past. I'm told the likely lay off is anywhere from between seven to nine months. He is mentally strong, physically strong and will have the very best treatment and rehab possible to make sure when he returns he is ready to play for us at the level we know he is capable of."
As well as being a devastating blow to a popular player around Liverpool's Melwood training ground, the injury ends the clean bill of health enjoyed by the Merseysiders. Sheyi Ojo's return to training ensured Klopp had no injuries to deal with. Ings will be supported by the whole of club's medical team as he attempts to make a second comeback, and captain Jordan Henderson says he and fellow-injury victim Joe Gomez have acted as an inspiration to the whole squad.
"Two of the lads who stand out at this moment, for all the right reasons, are Danny Ings and Joe Gomez," he told This is Anfield in September. "It was almost 12 months ago that these two top players suffered the worst sort of luck. Take Ingsy first: a year ago he was flying, terrorising Premier League defences, scoring vital goals and getting picked for his country.
"The biggest positive to come from their setbacks is that their reputations with their teammates could not be any higher than they are now, because of the way they approached their rehab and the attitude they continue to show during this period. The word 'inspiration' is probably thrown around too easily but when it comes to these two, it actually doesn't say nearly enough.
"Danny made his comeback towards the end of last season and it was brilliant to see him play against West Brom on the final day; the reception he got from the supporters said it all. Since then, he's had to battle each and every day to get his fitness and sharpness back to the levels he expects of himself, because coming back from an ACL takes time and patience."