Jurgen Klopp wants Takumi Minamino back in his Liverpool squad next season, according to reports. The Japan international spent the second half of the last campaign with Southampton.
This comes from the Liverpool Echo. They claim Jurgen Klopp plans to have Takumi Minamino in his squad next season.
That’s despite there being plenty of interest in Minamino, too. Still, Klopp wants to ignore it – at least at first – and plans to have the player with him.
Minamino spent last season with Southampton from February onwards, of course. He returns to Liverpool this summer and, it appears, will have a plance.
Why does Klopp want Minamino in his squad?
This is the big question. Klopp didn’t actually use Minamino much at all while he had him for a year but, apparently, wants him now.
In his first half season, Minamino started just two Premier League games and was a sub in eight. He then largely matched that in his second half-season but with one fewer sub appearance.
In total, Klopp had Minamino for a full calendar year but only gave him 532 Premier League minutes. That doesn’t look good.
But the Echo’s report suggests that Klopp merely believes the environment hasn’t been right. Minamino initially joined a team that was set in its ways and that didn’t give him much of a look-in.
Then he didn’t get a proper pre-season a year ago because of the crazy year.
Last season, injuries meant Klopp leaned into players he fully trusted, again robbing Minamino of consistent game-time. But that could all change this summer.
Returning players should mean Klopp trusts Minamino a little more. On top of that, he’ll have his first true pre-season with Liverpool this summer. The Reds believe, says the Echo, that the player will benefit greatly from both.
If they’re right, perhaps he can finally be the player Liverpool wanted when they signed him.
How did Minamino do at Southampton?
It was a mixed bag. Minamino started nine games and played 717 minutes but rarely shone.
He did grab two Premier League goals, though both came in a two-week period inside his first month with the Saints. There wasn’t too much after that.
Still, that is progress on what we saw with Liverpool. The big hope will be that it was a learning experience above all. That Minamino can return to the Reds a slightly better player or one who understands his task a little better.
It’s not much, admittedly, and the loan could have gone better. But if Klopp is right about pre-season making a difference, we’ll likely look back on the deal as a positive experience for all.