What will Takumi Minamino add to the Liverpool squad?
After signing for just £ 7.5 million from Red Bull Salzburg, Takumi Minamino will be looking to replicate the performances of the likes of Sadio Mane who also came from Salzburg to the Premier League, but via Southampton. The Japanese international was first recognised by Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool at Anfield in October last year when Salzburg came back from 3-0 down to make it 3-3 at Anfield with Minamino on the scoresheet. Salzburg went on to lose the match 4-3 after a Mohammed Salah winner.
However, one thing that was clear from this match was the talent of Takumi Minamino. After this game, it didn't take long for Liverpool to begin talks with the forward and by December the deal was complete. Since the signing, Minamino has made his debut in none other than the Merseyside Derby where although he may not have scored, he did impress many in Merseyside with his work ethic, almost mirroring Roberto Firmino when pressing. Minamino will likely take time to settle at Liverpool but when he does get used to his new surroundings, what can he add to this Liverpool squad?
To answer that question, a lot.
Takumi Minamino will add goals, pace, and energy to a Liverpool side who will be competing for 3 trophies for the remainder of the season. And although Minamino will likely play a Divock Origi-like role, his importance to the squad should never be doubted with potential match-winning moments from the bench being a distinct possibility.
Moreover, the Japanese international isn't a mug in front of goal, as he has proven in both the Champions League and Austrian Football Bundesliga this season with 9 goals and 11 assists in all competitions for Red Bull Salzburg. What's more, in time Minamino could reach the heights of Mané, Salah and Firmino to make him one of many improved players under Jurgen Klopp. Either way, that £7.5 million transfer fee will be remembered as a bargain for a player who has 20 goal contributions so far this season.
Another key asset of Minamino's is his versatility and this will be key for Jurgen Klopp when looking to rest players. The former Salzburg player can play behind the striker as well as either side of the striker on the left or right-wing. His versatility will likely cover for Roberto Firmino, Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane when they need a rest which, looking at Liverpool's busy schedule, will be a regular occurrence.
What's more, the introduction of Minamino to the game will not signal a tactical change upfront for Jurgen Klopp's men who can rely upon his pressing ability that he learnt so well whilst at Salzburg where he covered an average of 20 km a game, making him the perfect fit for Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp, much like the fans, was impressed with Minamino's Merseyside Derby debut, stating:
"Minamino was super, outstanding, exactly the player we wanted. It was his first game in a team that he doesn't know, he had two sessions with us but showed an understanding of our game and his football skills and attitude were outstanding."
To conclude, Minamino looks likely to be a fantastic bargain for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool who have been unstoppable in the Premier League so far this season and look well on their way to a first Premier League title.