Liverpool completed a last-minute deal to send Takumi Minamino on loan to Southampton. The Reds are already seeing the benefits.
We didn’t see the Takumi Minamino deal coming. Perhaps we should have, given he never really played.
Minamino hadn’t played significant minutes since the 7-0 over Crystal Palace, after all. Still, Liverpool have suffered an injury crisis and the idea of giving up a senior player felt risky.
It’s easy to see why Liverpool did make the loan deal. They want him to get regular football in the Premier League under a manager they reportedly trust.
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And in doing so, Minamino might finally adapt to English football. Liverpool, at the very least, could come out of it with a player they can sell on for decent money.
Best case? He returns to Liverpool as the player they wanted in the first place.
And with that in mind, they’re already seeing the benefits.
Southampton lost on Saturday but Minamino bagged a goal. It was a very good goal, too, as he somehow squeezed in an emphatic finish from a tight angle.
It was a goal that showed him at his best – highly mobile, inventive, and wonderfully two-footed.
All of that is a fantastic sign at this stage. Minamino has already earned himself more minutes and grabbed that confidence-building first goal.
It should only be upwards from here as Liverpool effectively see ‘Step 1’ completed.
The worst-case scenario was more of what we saw a year ago. Minamino struggled to fit in and never produced anything. His first half-season flew past him, really, without much of note.
That would have been a disaster for this loan as it would be over before he’s adapted. Fortunately, that isn’t the case.
Instead, Minamino looks ready to grow at Southampton. Liverpool avoid their disaster and should see development that we never got at Anfield.