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Watford trip offers chance for Liverpool to finally learn about Takumi Minamino

Liverpool are yet to give Takumi Minamino a real chance to shine but Saturday’s trip to Watford could be the time.

The Reds paid a reported £7.25m to sign Minamino at the beginning of January. He’s yet to start a Premier League game, however.

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His only starts have come in the FA Cup, in fact. Firstly against Everton just a few days after he arrived and then away at Shrewsbury Town. Neither game was with the first-team.

Minamino did get 57 minutes away at Wolves but that was only as a substitute for the injury Sadio Mane. So in short, he’s still waiting for a proper chance – and Liverpool for a chance to learn about him properly.

But Watford away does represent a good chance to see what Minamino can do. That doesn’t necessarily mean starting him but giving him more than the nine minutes he got against Southampton.

Watford away is a test – Jurgen Klopp believes so, anyway – and thus Liverpool can learn from any performance he gives. That’s again unlike Southampton, where the Reds were several goals up by his introduction.

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Importantly, the game also comes just a few days before Chelsea away in the FA Cup. Even if the entire first-team doesn’t start that one, taking anyone off early against Watford in order to play them on Tuesday gives a chance to Minamino.

Or perhaps Klopp does choose to rest some first-teamers so they can play in the cup. In that case, Minamino should definitely get an opportunity at Vicarage Road.

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And so the timing could be right to give the Japanese international a real opportunity. He hasn’t had that yet, given his only substantial time with first-team players was on a ground as difficult as Molineux.

Hopefully, he can get some good time against Watford as it would be a great chance to see what Minamino can really do.

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