Takumi Minamino picked up an assist against Aston Villa. His overall performance, however, puts him in an awkward position at Liverpool.
As we said ahead of the Aston Villa game, this was a big week for Takumi Minamino. He’s struggling for games and a good performance could change that.
Importantly, it would thrust him into contention for minutes against Manchester United next week. Shine there and you earn yourself a nice little place in Liverpool’s squad.
But it didn’t happen.
Minamino did pick up an assist against Villa but that was far and away the highlight. For most of it, you could easily forget he was on the pitch.
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Liverpool were awful in the first-half, particularly going forward against teenagers. But Minamino didn’t really threaten at all or get involved.
He improved second half. His toe-poke set up Gini Wijnaldum’s goal but it was hardly a demonstration of elite creativity.
So we come out of this one not really knowing when we’ll see Minamino again. Or when he’ll get a chance to play.
Xherdan Shaqiri came off the bench and looked far livelier, for instance. Ask us now and we’d put him into the United game over Minamino without a second thought.
Where does Minamino go from here, then? He’s far down the pecking order and is a year into his Anfield career. But he still doesn’t look like he’s clicking anytime soon – even against kids.
If he doesn’t perform over the next few months, he could well be on the chopping block in the summer. He needs minutes in order to perform, though, and he’s not in line to get them.
It’s an awkward position to be in and it may not end well for Minamino.