Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has praised striker Danny Ings after making his Champions League debut in Porto last week.
The former Burnley striker came off the bench to make his introductory bout in Europe’s elite competition as the Red’s hammered Porto 5-0 at the Estádio do Dragão.
Ings’ appearance was the thus far pinnacle after what has been a huge road to recovery for the Englishman, who has spent the majority of his Liverpool career on the sidelines with injury.
And Klopp was full of praise for Ings, describing his Champions League bow as “fantastic”.
“It was fantastic but he deserves it, really,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com, “Danny is in a fantastic shape. It always takes time. When I came in, it was such a long time [before I could work with him] because in the first session he got injured. Unbelievable.
“Now, after two-and-a-half years, he can play in the Champions League. It’s a wonderful story, it’s really deserved.”
Not only did Klopp praise Ings for his role in 5-0 win over Porto, but such has been his appearances from the bench this season for the Reds, he insists the the 25-year-old is close to forcing his way into the first team.
“Yes, absolutely [Danny is knocking on the door],” said Klopp. “It’s good. He needed time. A few months ago it was different, but a player like him when they come back they think, ‘I am under pressure’ and they want to come in immediately and get game time.
“Danny went the hard way. He played a lot of games for the U23s – a lot of good games. Not all of them were good, but that’s normal. If you feel like a settled player, like he usually is, and then you play U23 and are not the best player on the pitch, then it’s not nice but it’s an important experience again.
“It’s all about getting match time and getting minutes. Then at one point, if the quality is there, he will be back – and that he is back now is very important for us and fantastic for him.”