Gerhard Struber, current head coach for Barnsley and former assistant coach for Salzburg, was asked about his time with Liverpool’s newest player, Takumi Minamino.
Minamino made a solid debut for Liverpool in the Merseyside derby last weekend, and could have a role to play today as the Reds travel to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to take on Spurs in the league.
Struber had nothing but effusive praise for the player, who obviously thoroughly impressed the coach while they worked together in Austria. He also played against Minamino when he went on to work for Austrian side Wolfsberger AC, so he has seen the Japanese international from both sides.
“The difficult thing is he’s top in one-on-one situations for dribbling and he’s also good in combinations,” he admitted. “I think it’s a very big task for every defender.
”I think the only solution we had was to give him no space and no time. And maybe foul at the right time! He’s a human with a big heart. I think he also has very, very big technical skills. In the opponent’s box he has a big nose for goals. He has the technical skills in both feet. He can break the rhythm in a game in the offense.
”He can lure the opponent and on the next step he can break the rhythm in the next level with the tempo of the pass and the tempo with his speed.”
Struber also believes that the work they did in Salzburg training to counter-press will suit Klopp’s team.
“[We worked on] the Red Bull style to play against the ball, counter-pressing,” Struber added. “We also spent a lot of time on the right moves in the last third, in the box. I think most of the time we took a big focus in the education to score goals.”
Klopp and his transfer team have rarely made a wrong step in their recruitment. In his first match with the team, only days after he’d arrived and in a derby, Minamino performed to expectations. With Klopp’s guidance going forward, he can only get back from here.