For some time now, there have been questions surrounding Takumi Minamino’s role at Liverpool.
Minamino, 25, has had to remain patient regarding game-time with opportunities few and far.
Prior to the Crystal Palace game, Minamino had clocked up just 190 minutes of top-flight action – he was clearly struggling to lay down his mark.
However, any previous doubts to Minamino’s quality were quickly put to bed at the weekend.
The Japanese international was handed only his second Premier League start of the season and he seized his opportunity.
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Rather than nervous and lacking belief, Minamino had a point to prove, and played with purpose and confidence.
His first Premier League goal could not have been timed any better, with Minamino firing the opener at Selhurst Park inside three minutes.
It clearly did Minamino a world of good and felt like a huge weight off the player’s shoulders.
Klopp deserves credit
It was a bold call from the manager to include Minamino in Liverpool’s starting XI, especially when you consider he was chosen to start ahead of Mohamed Salah.
Palace have commonly been referred to as a potential banana skin for Liverpool, so for Klopp to make a number of big selection calls showcases the unwavering faith he has in his squad.
It was important for Minamino to finally lay down a real marker to vindicate the manager’s faith – he did just that.
Minamino offers Klopp a real solution from a rotational sense. For Liverpool to win 7-0 at Palace with their top-scorer on the bench, takes some doing.
It’s also forgotten how well Minamino has done so far to adapt to life at the home of the English champions.
To go from RB Salzburg to Liverpool is a pretty big jump in terms of the quality and intensity of football – it was always going to take time.
The fact Minamino is able to directly contribute and make an impact for a team with Premier League and Champions League aspirations is an achievement in itself.
At just 25-years-old, his best is still ahead of him.
Klopp has shown faith that while he may be a player who gets utilised irregularly, he is player he has the upmost trust in.
Throwing him in at the deep end in such a huge game was a huge leap of faith from the manager, and Minamino would have appreciated the gesture.
Minamino will finally feel as though he belongs at Liverpool right now. It’s amazing to think the impact his first Premier League goal could have on his momentum going forward.
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