Liverpool keep faith with Minamino as he isn’t ‘end product’ & Lijnders sees ‘potential’ in Japan star

Jurgen Klopp’s right-hand man says a versatile 26-year-old still has a future at Anfield despite a lack of competitive game time

Liverpool will be keeping faith with Takumi Minamino because the Japan international is not “the end product” and still has “potential” to be unlocked, says Pep Lijnders.

The Reds acquired a versatile 26-year-old in January 2020 and saw him become a Premier League title winner within months of his arrival.

Progress has been slow from that point, with only 31 appearances made and a loan spell at Southampton taken in, but Minamino is part of Jurgen Klopp’s plans this season and will be given further opportunities in which to prove his worth.

What has been said?

Assistant coach Lijnders has told Liverpool’s official website of Minamino: “Taki had a really good pre-season and I think it was really important for him after going to Southampton, which was a good decision at that time.

“He came back and had a complete, full pre-season with us training-wise. He made an impact in pre-season, we were really enthusiastic about him. Then he had a small issue, with the national team, but he’s back now. He was not 100 per cent fit because he came back early, but now he is good to go and we are really happy that he’s part of our team.

“Jurgen said, ‘Wow, the amount of times Taki comes one-v-one against the goalkeeper.’ I said, ‘Yeah, it shows you don’t need super, super speed to come one-v-one with the goalkeeper.’ He is a very natural, intelligent mover.

“That’s what we need; we needed it already in the last games. He has this good timing to move in behind, good combination play when the players are close to him.

“He only can become better. That’s what we like, that’s why we brought him in at that time – because we saw the potential, not the end product.”

How has Minamino fared for Liverpool?

Takumi Minamino, Crystal Palace vs Liverpool, Premier League 2020-21

Minamino was eased into the Reds fold by Klopp following a switch from Red Bull Salzburg, with 14 goalless appearances taken in during his debut campaign on Merseyside.

He broke his duck for the Reds in a 2020 Community Shield clash with Arsenal, before registering his first Premier League effort in a meeting with Crystal Palace.

Shortly after that a loan move to Southampton was sanctioned, with two goals recorded for the Saints.

Minamino has been an unused substitute on four occasions in 2021-22, as he waits on his first competitive minutes of the season, but he could figure in a Carabao Cup third-round clash with Norwich on Tuesday.

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