It feels like Takumi Minamino faces a make-or-break week. Things certainly haven’t gone to plan so far.
Minamino joined Liverpool for a bargain £7.25m price back in January 2020. Somehow, though, it’s been largely downhill from there.
We’ve barely seen him, for one. Minamino spends most of his minutes on the bench, only coming on late in games. On occasion, he’ll start but that’s led to mainly forgettable performances.
Yet, we still describe that price as a bargain. It definitely is.
Minamino clearly has a ton of talent and the energy to match. Whether he’s got the mentality or the physicality to make it at the top level, we’re not sure, but the ability with the ball is there.
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In fact, it’s there with his movement, too. Minamino is a really good player. He just rarely shows it.
And that’s why this feels like a make-or-break week. Well, week and a bit. First, there’s the FA Cup fixture against Aston Villa and then the Premier League clash against Manchester United nine days later.
Minamino simply has to get his name in the lights here. He must play and perform in the FA Cup and put his name in Jurgen Klopp’s mind.
That way, there’s a chance he’ll come off the bench against United as a threat.
If not, it’s hard to see a future at Liverpool beyond this season. This is the end of the busy period, after all. It’s the end of necessary rotation and, importantly, we’re getting close to Diogo Jota being back.
Once Klopp can afford to play his first XI every week – and has Jota to call on – Minamino won’t get a look in. There just won’t be need to use him at a crunch time in the season.
These two games a vital for Minamino, then. If he doesn’t take his chances, we’re not sure he’ll get them again. And that could be curtains.