Danny Ings helping Liverpool youngsters as he regains match fitness
Liverpool striker Danny Ings' journey back to first-team football has been a long one but his absence is proving to be a benefit for the club's youngsters.
The 25-year-old has played just 17 minutes of a Carabao Cup tie this season, having managed only two substitute appearances in the previous year - the sum total of his pitch time since a serious knee injury ruled him out for seven months in his debut campaign.
Another knee injury proved a setback a year ago but having regained full fitness he is regaining his match sharpness for Liverpool's Under-23s, helping them to a five-point lead at the top of Premier League 2.
The attitude he has shown playing for the reserves has impressed manager Neil Critchley.
"Danny is brilliant for the younger lads. You just pass information on to Danny and he will pass it onto the lads for you, he's like a coach on the pitch," he said.
"You forget Danny is only 25 himself and has plenty of years left on him but he is very mature for his age and I think his all-round performances get better all the time.
"He is looking fitter and more confident about himself so I'm delighted with Danny.
"Danny is chasing back in the last minute and helping out for the team. He is a great influence in the dressing room.
"He sets the bar for all the other players all round him and there's no excuse for anyone else when he's chasing all over the pitch and closing down the centre-halves.
"He is a great role model for our younger players."