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Secret loophole could see Ings join Liverpool before summer

| 04.02.2015

During a desperate stretch of results Brendan Rodgers plunged a wooden spoon into his cauldron of formations and fished out a 3-4-3 hybrid. He hasn’t looked back since.

The tactic, which sees two attacking midfielders support a lone striker, has been so successful that it convinced the previously spend-happy manager to cancel all plans to dip into the transfer market on deadline day.

One target did remain, but the pursuit of Burnley’s Danny Ings was only ever one for the future, as the Reds looked to secure the England U21 striker ahead of a pack of rivals before loaning him back to the Turf Moor club for the rest of the season.

While Sean Dyche’s insistence that his star striker could not quit the Premier League strugglers in January ensured Ings stayed put, the gravel-voiced manager admitted the furore had unsettled his charge.

Unfortunately the locking of the winter transfer window is far from the end of the saga, but a little-known Premier League loophole could help all parties find an amenable solution.

According the division’s rulebook, Liverpool can engineer a pre-contract agreement with both Ings and Burnley that will guarantee his move to Anfield in the summer but keeps him with the Clarets for the remainder of the season.

A similar deal was put in place when Manchester United lured Chris Smalling from Fulham in 2010 and could help Ings rediscover his motivation.

His seven Premier League goals in a debut top-flight campaign have been enough to convince the 5/1 top-four hopefuls that he has the necessary qualities to provide a capable foil to Daniel Sturridge, after swinging and missing with Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli.

Should he arrive on Merseyside, Ings could well take over the positional role of Luis Suarez, with Raheem Sterling and Sturridge operating either side of him in an intriguing all-English trio.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.