Takumi Minamino scored his first Premier League goal as Liverpool crushed Crystal Palace 7-0. It’s been a very long wait.
Takumi Minamino delivered more than just a goal against Crystal Palace. Although, that was certainly the highlight.
The Japan international set Liverpool on their way to a 7-0 win, scoring a nice finish inside just a few minutes.
Minamino picked the ball up from Sadio Mane in the box, danced past a challenge or two, then fired home in a flash. It was a great goal – and a long time coming.
The player arrived back in January, after all. Liverpool paid £7.25m for him – a release clause – and hoped he’d add squad depth.
He really hasn’t, however. Minamino has hovered on the edge of the first-team, only really making up the numbers in games. He very rarely – if ever – affected a Premier League game in a meaningful way.
But that changed on Saturday. Minamino finally looked like a Liverpool player.
This performance was about far more than just the goal. For the first real time, Minamino’s fit in the side was there to see.
Up until now, it had merely been theoretical. We saw how Minamino could fit into the team but never actually saw it in action.
There had been flashes, sure, but with his limited minutes, we never saw anything sustained.
Until Saturday. Minamino switched positions with Mane and Roberto Firmino as if it were all completely natural. He ran in behind, he drifted into space, he pressed like mad – he did all of the things we wanted from him back in January.
Really, he did all of the things Liverpool forwards do. And most important of all, he did it for 90 minutes and never looked out of place.
Hopefully, this is just the start. We can now see that Minamino is a great fit in the team – Liverpool won 7-0 with him in a key role – but we need to see it often.
It’s taken 11 months but he’s proven he can do it. It should be nothing but upwards from here.