Takumi Minamino made his Premier League debut against Wolves on Thursday. It wasn’t an easy one, however, as he played several roles.
Perhaps this will be Minamino’s role? The Japanese forward arrived at Liverpool this month from RB Salzburg in a £7.25m transfer.
There’s little doubt that he’s initially here as a squad option. Not only does Jurgen Klopp like to wait until using players, after all, but the first-team is playing for too well for anyone to break in.
And we saw the full extent of Minamino’s squad role on Thursday. He came on for Sadio Mane after the Senegalese pulled a muscle in the first half. And, initially, Minamino simply went in the left-wing where Mane was.
He played it differently, however. There was a lot of interchanging with Roberto Firmino and plenty of drifting inside, looking for space, rather than threatening in behind.
Things changed after half-time, though. Liverpool changed formation, beginning with a diamond. That meant Minamino was in a completely different role, now playing as the right-centre midfielder in that diamond.
Wolves scored just six minutes into the half, though, and Liverpool changed again. Now it was 4-4-2 (or 4-4-1-1) and Minamino was an out-and-out right-midfielder.
But things still weren’t comfortable. Fabinho came on and Liverpool reverted to 4-3-3 that meant Minamino pushed on to be a right-winger.
That’s a hell of a debut, really, and Minamino didn’t really have an opportunity to shine. But how could you? There was no opportunity for rhythm. He played everywhere and the fact that he never looked out of place is the most exciting part.
Here is a player who can play several positions and look competent in all of them. A dream squad player, really.
This was undoubtedly a difficult debut against a very good side. But that versatility is a sign of real promise.