Fit-again Ings raring to make up for lost time

LONDON • Danny Ings is a man on a mission.

Two serious knee injuries, one being a ruptured cruciate ligament, saw the striker make just 25 appearances in three years for Liverpool, leading to a season-long loan at Southampton before a £20 million (S$35.3 million) move was made permanent in the summer.

This season, however, he has shown his injury hell is finally behind him and is playing even better than during his maiden top-flight campaign in 2014-15.

His 11 Premier League goals almost fired Burnley to safety, but while he could not stop them from the drop, 15th-placed Southampton are reaping the benefits of a fully fit Ings as they pull away from the relegation zone.

With a career-best 12 league goals, he has already passed his previous tally with half the season left.

That number is half of their 24 league goals - the highest proportion of any player for a club in the competition this season - and there has been clamour for a first England recall since October 2015.

Five of them have also been notched following mistakes made by opponents - no other player has profited more from errors - and his ability to sniff out half chances is down to Ings "enjoying his football again" after his Anfield misery.

On being a "fox in the box", the 27-year-old told the club website: "I try to look out for defensive mistakes, I've got quite a few of them where I've been switched on.

"We've come a long way and that's the level we need to be at. Unbeaten in three now, which is huge for us as a team, so we're moving forward with that."

That will be a warning to fifth-placed Tottenham, who travel to St Mary's today. They have conceded two or more goals in seven of Jose Mourinho's 10 games in charge, keeping only one clean sheet, and must tighten up at the back with Ings waiting to pounce.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2020, with the headline 'Fit-again Ings raring to make up for lost time'. Print Edition | Subscribe