Jurgen Klopp knows exactly why Takumi Minamino doesn’t feature very often. That’s despite him believing the Liverpool forward is ‘outstanding’ at times.
Takumi Minamino stepped into the Liverpool starting XI on Wednesday as the Reds travelled to Preston. It was his first start since the last round on September 21st and the first time we saw Minamino at all since September 28th.
It turned out to be a frustrating game. Preston defended very well, while Liverpool struggled to break them down. Minamino, though, did everything he could to be involved.
He ended up with 60 touches in the game – over double that of Divock Origi. Minamino was dropping deep, moving into space and trying to unlock Preston.
Eventually, he found a way by getting on the end of a Neco Williams cross to score. That made the game 1-0 and brought Minamino his third goal of the season after his brace vs Norwich City.
The 26-year-old didn’t put in the most impressive performance in the world but it was a difficult night. In the end, he did still find the back of the net and no one could fault his work rate.
Unfortunately, we only really see Minamino in games like this, making him very hard to judge. He never gets on the pitch with the actual first-team – or at most, on incredibly rare occasions.
Jurgen Klopp has a very simple explanation for that, however.
Klopp on Minamino
“Taki is high quality,” said Klopp, per Liverpoolfc.com. “Taki’s problem is… actually, there is no problem apart from the other players in his positions are really good and thank God for us they are not injured.
“That’s it. Taki is absolutely fine, Taki is an outstanding moment, training-wise much better than he showed tonight but he was the most dangerous player and scores a goal, which is really important.
“He understands our game as well really well, so you can throw him in and he can be immediately a massive part of our football. Tonight he was, obviously. Taki was good, but we all know he can be even much better.”
So it’s as simple as that – the players ahead of Minamino are just that much better. Until there are injuries, he’s unlikely to get a serious look-in.
It’s understandable but also quite strange. You’d think Liverpool would take more looks at Minamino among the other top players.
After all, his last Premier League appearance for Liverpool was a start at Crystal Palace last December. The Reds won that game 7-0 with Minamino as a False 9. It is odd that they’ve never gone back to that.
But as we say, you can understand it. With the other forwards on fire at the moment, Minamino just doesn’t get a chance.