Jurgen Klopp makes promise of long-term Liverpool role for Takumi Minamino as Japan star continues to struggle for game time: ‘His time will come, no doubt’
- Jurgen Klopp has made a promise to Takumi Minamino he will get into his plans
- The Japan international signed from RB Salzburg in the January 2019 window
- Minamino has only managed 58minutes on the pitch so far this season
- Minamino’s last start was against FC Midjytlland on October 27 in Europe
The Japan international, a £7million signing from Red Bull Salzburg in January, has struggled to make an impact this season; he has only managed 58 minutes, over five substitute appearances, in the Premier League and has been limited to two Champions League appearances.
Minamino’s last start was against FC Midjytlland on October 27 but there is a possibility he could be included in Wednesday evening’s clash with Atalanta, as Klopp seeks to preserve the fitness of his front line attackers – Roberto Firmino sat out training on Tuesday night, along with Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita.
Jurgen Klopp has made a promise to Takumi Minamino that he will get into Liverpool’s plans
If Firmino is given a break, following his excellent performance against Leicester on Sunday, Minamino would be a natural replacement for the Brazilian and Klopp has urged the 25-year-old to be ready if his chance arrives.
‘There is no dip in form,’ said Klopp. ‘Taki is training well, (on Monday) he was exceptional for example. It’s just a strong team, and offensively – thank God – we didn’t have the same problems as the other positions. It’s hard to get in this team – that’s how it is.
Much hype surrounded the Japan international’s January 2019 move from RB Salzburg
‘But no dip in form, just a challenge. Bobby (Firmino) plays like 12 instruments in our orchestra! He’s very important for our rhythm. We can play well without him as well. Taki is a sensational boy and a great player, so he will face that challenge. His time will come, no doubt.’
Victory on Wednesday evening would be huge for Liverpool, as it would present Klopp with an opportunity to give senior players a rest in the next two midweeks. Liverpool face Ajax next Tuesday then finish the Champions League group stages with away game against Danish side FC Midjytlland.
That fixture, however, is likely to played in Germany – Borussia Dortmund’s stadium is the most likely option – owing to quarantine issues with coronavirus and UEFA are expected to make a decision before the end of this week.
So far Minamino hasn’t had the same electric impact as fellow signings such as Diogo Jota
The prospect of wrapping things up ahead of schedule would be welcome but Klopp, who will welcome Mohamed Salah back into his starting line-up following the Egyptian’s negative COVID test, is refusing to look too far ahead.
‘We can only play one game – we cannot play two or three games at once,’ said Klopp.
‘It’s all on the table, it’s clear that if we win them some problems will be sorted. We know that we have to be ready again. Atalanta are a top team with a special way to play.’