It’s too early to call him a flop, and he didn’t show anything to be called a hit either. That’s the story of Takumi Minamino in short. Even though he made enough appearances to get a premier league medal, he had no goal contributions in his name. The start is quiet for the Japanese international, as was for a lot of Klopp era signings.
Dislodging Salah, Mane, or Firmino from their spot was out of the question from the beginning, easing their workload was Klopp’s main motto in signing Minamino. As we said earlier, adapting to Klopp’s high metal football is not an easy job, and the German has given time for his signings in the past the time to adjust. Take the case of Fabinho, Andy Robertson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, or Joel Matip. They took their own time to adjust to the new surroundings. Takumi Minamino is following a similar trajectory.
There are flaws in his game. He is not physically dominant, and he looses the ball too quickly. He needs to hit the gym to bulk him a bit to get used to the physicality of the Premier League. Keep his flaws aside, Liverpool’s failure to land Timo Werner means a good sign for the Japanese international. Can he make his name at Anfield in the coming season?
How can Klopp use him?
It is quite evident from his Salzburg days that Minamino operates at his best when deployed in the middle. He is the type of player, just like Firmino, who can work on winning the ball and feed the ball to start an attack. A false nine Klopp approves off.
The Japanese international had some excellent outings in the Champions League. He has scored two and assisted three, out of which one was against Liverpool. We still remember how awestruck Jurgen Klopp was, which was indeed a catalyst in wrapping up his signature.
Jurgen Klopp needed attacking depth to retain the title and win back the Champions League, but he didn’t want to spend big on Timo Werner. Given the current financial crisis, it is understandable, and he decided to find a solution from the resources he already possesses. Minamino is one such crucial resource, who is versatile, even though his best comes from the center of the front three.
Minamino can help ease the pressure on Firmino by taking up his place in Cup games and even in the league. He won’t directly replace the front three at the moment, but all Klopp expects from him will be to ease the pressure of his attackers. The Japanese international might need some starts to build his confidence and to grow into the game, but he does have the spark in him. He exhibited the glimpses in his starts against Everton and Newcastle United as well.
The 2020/21 season is going to be a test of squad depth for all the teams. So Liverpool will need Minamino to be firing and rearing to go. As we said before, he won’t replace Firmino anytime soon, but this is football, and wonders can happen. Who knows, while easing the pressure for Firmino, he might create a selection headache for Klopp?