Why Takumi Minamino to Liverpool would be a wise move
The 24-year-old put up an impressive display at Anfield in Salzburg’s 4-3 defeat against Liverpool on Matchday 2 of the UEFA Champions League last month.
Along with Hwang Hee-chan and Erling Haaland, Minamino was one of the key driving forces behind Salzburg’s incredible comeback in the second half from 3-0 down to 3-3 before the Austrian giants finally succumbed to a winner from Mo Salah.
Minamino contributed with a goal and an assist on the night and his superb all-round display earned him admiring glances from the Liverpool fans. In fact, such was his impact on the game that Jurgen Klopp was urged by the supporters on Twitter to sign him up in January. (h/t Mirror)
Takumi Minamino spent his formative years and rose to prominence with Cerezo Osaka in his homeland before earning a move to RB Salzburg in January 2015.
The diminutive winger made an immediate impact in the Austrian top-flight and he hasn’t looked back since then, going from strength to strength over the past four seasons.
The 24-year-old has accumulated an impressive tally of 61 goals and 41 assists in 189 appearances for RB Salzburg in all competitions till date while also catching the eye in the Europe League and the Champions League.
Minamino, who was one of the standout performers in Salzburg’s march to the Europa League semi-finals in the 2017-18 season, bagged a hat-trick against Rosenborg in the same competition in the previous campaign before making a big impact on the elite stage this term.
Besides his dazzling display against Liverpool, the 25-cap Japanese international also set up two goals in his club’s 6-2 demolition of Genk on Matchday 1 of the Champions League, which included a hat-trick from Erling Haaland.
As well as his obvious pace, trickery and ability to beat a man in one-on-one situations, Minamino has also caught the eye with lovely close control, vision and proficiency in creating chances from open play, as well as his hardworking nature and defensive contribution while tracking back to help out the defenders.
To put things into perspective, Takumi Minamino looks like a genuine talent in the right age bracket for Liverpool and the Reds are well within their rights to look at him as a useful squad player.
Minamino’s brilliance in Austria hardly guarantees the same in the highly-competitive atmosphere of the Premier League but, given that he has illustrated his ability to make a big impact on the European stage, the Japanese star is certainly worth a punt for Liverpool, who are still on the lookout for options to release the burden on their prolific front trio.
It is imperative to say that Mo Salah was also considered as an industrious out-and-out winger earlier in his career before Jurgen Klopp moulded him into a devastating finisher in front of goal and Minamino looks like a player in the same mould with similar attributes.
Of course, to say that the 24-year-old would go on to reach the same heights as the Egyptian in the Premier League would be a bit of an exaggeration at this point of time but there are obvious signs that Minamino could make a big impact under the tutelage of Klopp, who is a master when it comes to transforming talented players into world-beaters.
With the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi not doing enough to convince Klopp of their pedigree and Rhian Brewster yet to nail down a substantial role, the door is open for someone like Takumi Minamino to come in and establish himself.
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The onus if going to be on the likes of Salah, Firmino and Mane for the foreseeable future but Liverpool need to focus on polishing more players into stars if they are to push on for a sustained period for dominance under Klopp.
That said, the Reds should continue to keep close tabs on the Japanese star and plot a swoop to bring him to Anfield in the near future.