Takumi Minamino hasn’t featured much for Liverpool FC this campaign, partly due to injury, despite impressing in pre-season. With two goals against Norwich, Taki took his chance to stake down a claim for more minutes as the fixtures continue to come in hot and heavy. Naturally, the boss Jürgen Klopp had some good things to say about the Japanese international in his post-game comments to Liverpoolfc.com, starting with his two goals:
It is just a logical thing. He is in a really good moment; I know he didn’t play too much, but in the wrong moment he was injured, coming back and stuff like this. It is sometimes not so easy, but he is a top character and he enjoyed the game tonight. That was important for him and important for us, so that will help him and will help us.
On his lack of game time so far, Klopp empathised with Taki:
I am not sure if it was frustrating. A footballer wants to play, that’s clear, and it didn’t happen too often. He was with the national team and he got injured there, came back and was not fit immediately and became fit since he is back. It is now not that he did not play for 16 weeks or whatever, it was the time after the injury. Other players need time as well to get back on track after an injury, but Taki is in a good moment, trained really well and deserved these two goals. The first one, really good awareness, quick in mind, finished the situation off. The second one I didn’t really see 100 per cent but the acceleration in the box in the short, small space was really good. He was in pre-season really good, then he started, then he got injured and now the rest of the season starts. Nobody needs to worry, Taki will be fine.
In the second half, Minamino was moved to midfield for... reasons:
We wanted him as a footballer in midfield because Taki looked really strong today. We didn’t use these half-spaces enough so we put him there. We wanted Oxlade then with a little bit more freedom on the left wing. That was the reason, just so that he can connect the game. Taki is a smart player and he can play different positions, that was the reason.
It’s going to be a long season, but with Divock and Taki chipping in with their contributions early, it’s looking good early on.