Takumi Minamino will give Jurgen Klopp the versatility that Divock Origi has always lacked. It could revolutionise Liverpool’s attack.
Minamino arrived in January for a reported £7.25m but hasn’t really played much. His only three starts have come in the FA Cup, for instance, with only three substitute Premier League appearances to add to that.
But what we saw against Chelsea on Tuesday was promising – even if he didn’t set the world alight. Minamino was a little bit lost in the pack, unable to unlock the Blues’ defence.
He’s new, though, and we have to cut him slack on that. It can take a while for a new player to settle in at Liverpool and we shouldn’t expect too much this season.
What we did see, however, was his movement and ability to switch positions across the front line. Minamino was happy to drift left and right or take up a position in the middle.
That allowed both Sadio Mane and Divock Origi to switch with him, taking up central positions as well as wide throughout. That versatility is fantastic and can affect the first-team in a wonderful way.
There’s the obvious benefit of Minamino filling in for any of the regulars. But there’s also the in-game bonus.
Mohamed Salah, for instance, likes drifting from the right to the middle. Minamino can comfortably swap with him in-game, allowing the Reds to maintain their shape. And he can do this with any of the first-choice front-three, given they all like to move about and he’s comfortable in all three positions.
That trait means Minamino can offer Klopp what Origi never has. Origi has often started games or come on in wide positions but never really performs. Per Whoscored, he’s started as a striker once this season and scored twice. He’s started as a winger five times and scored just once – with zero goals in 21 substitute appearances.
So whereas Origi is best as a static striker, Minamino can blend better with the rest of the attack. While we may not see his best until next season, there is reason to be excited.