Jordan Henderson feels the recognition Danny Ings is receiving is just rewards for all of his hard work and dedication as Liverpool look to set about thwarting their former teammate today.
The striker, who has struck 16 times in all competitions so far this season, will line up at Anfield for the first time since departing the Reds for Southampton in 2018.
During his three years on Merseyside, Ings was a hugely popular figure amongst players and staff alike at Melwood and he will, therefore, receive a warm welcome back to L4 later today.
Not least from Henderson, though the captain is eager to shut out a player he believes to be one of Europe’s finest centre-forwards once the game gets under way.
He wrote in his column in the official matchday programme: “What can I say about Danny Ings? Well, firstly I hope he has a stinker today, but I know it’s highly unlikely.
“When Southampton came to Anfield last season Danny wasn’t eligible to play because his first season at St Mary’s was a loan. It’s different this time around, now the move is officially permanent. It means today we all have to cope with trying to stop one of the most dangerous centre-forwards in the Premier League.
“To say those of us who shared a dressing room with him here at Liverpool are buzzing to see how he’s doing this season is an understatement.
“Ingzhi was so popular with everyone at Melwood. He’s one of those people who’d brighten up any room with his positivity. Incredibly funny, always warm, never short of a smile.
“Everyone knows his story with us and how a couple of major setbacks played a part in robbing us of more minutes of Ingzhi on the pitch. But those setbacks didn’t diminish his contribution overall.
“How he conducted himself, the attitude he showed, his desire and his professionalism was genuinely inspiring. It made an impact on a lot of us and still does. But focusing on personality and character does a massive disservice to his greatest asset – his ability.
“Ingzhi was only ever a nice guy off the pitch. On the pitch he was ‘horrible’ in the best sense of the word from a footballing perspective: wouldn’t give you a second to breathe on the ball, always snapping away to try to win the ball back, constantly offering and always a threat.
“I go back to what I said right at the beginning and I hope after the match today I’m telling him ‘hard luck’. But we’ll also be telling him that we’re all made up to see him doing what he does best.
“The fact he’s getting the recognition he deserves as one of the best centre-forwards, in one of Europe’s best leagues, is reward for all the hard work he’s put in for a very, very long time.”
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