Southampton: Brutal first-half from Ings vs Burnley proves his class

Southampton found themselves 2-0 down early on against Burnley on Sunday and they were staring a worrying defeat in the face until a brilliant comeback turned the game on its head.

Key in the turnaround was striker Danny Ings, who made two big contributions in the first-half to help draw Saints level.

A clever assist for Stuart Armstrong’s goal and a superb run and finish of his own before the break meant that Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side moved onto 36 points come full-time and pushed further away from the relegation scrap at the basement.

Speculation about his future rumbles on off the pitch, but he is still proving that he is one of the best strikers in the Premier League when he steps onto the turf at St Mary’s.

Big contributions with little of the ball show Ings’ ability in this Southampton setup

In the first-half of this game, Ings had 18 touches of the ball according to whoscored.com. Strikers often have to work with less of the ball than some of their teammates, but they have to use it efficiently when a chance to attack arrives. That’s exactly what the man in question did.

As proceedings moved on into the 31st minute, Saints had been 2-0 down for three minutes. But they then built an attack that saw James Ward-Prowse roll the ball into Ings, who had dropped off of his marker to receive possession.

One flick around the corner was all it took for the 28-year-old to find Stuart Armstrong making the third-man run and the Scotsman did the rest. One touch in a crucial moment and one goal assist for Ings.

Then three minutes before half-time, he conjured up a goal from almost nowhere.

Nothing looked on when Kyle Walker-Peters made a clearance down the line, but the ball was touched on by Nathan Redmond and gave Burnley defender Ben Mee something to deal with.

Crucially, he did not deal with it and Ings was there on the scene in a flash – first beating Mee for pace to get the wrong side of him and then driving into the box, where he sold a dummy to James Tarkowski and slid his finish under Nick Pope.

It took just four touches of the ball to take him from near halfway to the position from where he equalised. Five touches and two goal contributions that were vital in deciding the final result.

Rumours and links involving Saints’ star will continue long into the summer but this performance really proved why they will try everything to keep him on the South Coast.