Jurgen Klopp says Takumi Minamino is in line for more minutes this season. The Liverpool player got his first Anfield goal on Saturday afternoon.
Takumi Minamino has had a very strange Liverpool career so far. He arrived halfway through the title-winning season, with the Reds having practically wrapped the trophy up already.
Then Covid-19 hit, meaning football shut down just two months into Minamino’s time with the club.
We didn’t see him much over the first half of last season, either, before a loan to Southampton. His return to Liverpool for 2021/22 has been sporadic, too.
27 Premier League minutes, 35 in the Champions League and two EFL Cup starts. It’s not a lot from a player we’re constantly hearing good things about.
For whatever reason, Minamino rarely gets opportunities in meaningful games – even when things go well. In fact, his last Premier League start for Liverpool was a 7-0 win over Crystal Palace in December.
It’s undeniably strange to perform in a game like that and never really get a chance since. But that kind of sums up Minamino’s time with Liverpool.
Saturday, though, saw the 26-year-old get a big moment – his first Anfield goal. Minamino got on the end of a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross, tapping home to make it 4-0.
And that, says Jurgen Klopp, could be the start of more regular minutes this season for Minamino.
Klopp on Takumi Minamino minutes
“I knew before the game that Taki was pretty much our first option for changing in five positions,” said Klopp in his Tuesday press conference.
“It says a lot as he can play all of those positions. When he came in, it was just a wonderful moment – seconds on the pitch and scoring the goal.
“From that moment on, you can see that confidence now. How that confidence grew in the last few months and how good a player he is.
“Really pleased for him, really. He will get his minutes, definitely.”
We do hope so and Minamino couldn’t have timed his goal any better. The busiest period of the campaign is coming as fixtures pile up in December. Minamino will be an option, either as fresh legs himself or to rest others.
Finally, then, we might get to see what he can do with regular football. It’s been a long time coming.