Another domestic cup match, another Minamino goal.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, when he was the leading goal scorer for us in the League Cup, and yet both goals were a sight to behold. Even as he’s struggled with finding a place in the squad, he’s definitely thrived when given the chance in these domestic cup tournaments.
His performances certainly aren’t a surprise to Jürgen Klopp, either.
“It was an exceptional game, for sure. He looked extremely sharp, he showed all the things he knows for sure he has in him and now he showed it tonight to the public,” Klopp said following the match.
“It was really a complete performance. The two goals were great but all the rest he did was top-class as well. It was really good.”
These domestic tournaments have proven the perfect bedding in time for Minamino, who obviously was signed at what might’ve been the worst time for football around the world. Those struggles have only proven to make the young attacker even hungrier to proven himself on the English stage.
“He shows everything, he has everything. That’s how it is, that’s why he is our player. Taki came in, in a difficult time, coronavirus was there full throttle, no supporters in the stadium, in a good football team obviously which was used to a lot of things,” the manager continued.
“Had good moments, played really good football but now he needed time and in the moment he looks absolutely on the peak of things he can do. I’m very, very happy for him that he can show that.
“Obviously there are more difficult situations than Taki’s out there in the world but it’s obviously not so easy to be in and out and sometimes these kind of things. But his character is obviously top-class, which means when he is needed or when I give him the opportunity, he is delivering on a top-class level. I’m really happy.”
Unfortunutely that hunger and can bring with it disappointment, as Minamino wasn’t included in the starting lineup on Sunday against Chelsea for the League Cup final - the tournament he well and truly bossed. Equally as unfortunate, though, is that Liverpool is so stacked with talented players, that someone like Minamino has a lot of competition, even for a tournament he contributed heavily to.
“It was for sure very disappointing, I can imagine. I didn’t speak to him about it; these are the hard decisions I have to make, which line-up I decide. Actually, my decision is a very positive one because I decide for the player, but it means for other players that they are not involved and that’s obviously then not so cool,” Klopp explained.
“But how Taki is, I don’t think that was the reason why he played so good tonight. He isn’t a person for this kind of anger or whatever. But it’s just the situation he is in. Obviously the decision for the line-up on Sunday was kind of the right one because we won the game in the end. My decisions get tested by the results we can get and the players have just to keep working.
“For me, to be a player of Liverpool FC is actually the best place you can be. But it means you have to deal with situations you would not have to deal with maybe somewhere else, because there you play all the time but then you have no chance to play a final maybe, or more finals maybe, maybe it’s not so easy or you have no chance to win silverware. That’s the decision the players have to make.
“But the door is always open because you will get your chances and then you have to deliver and then you are part of it. Taki was a massive part of the whole journey in the Carabao Cup. That he didn’t play in the final might have been hard for him in the moment but in the long term when he looks back, he just won the Carabao Cup with Liverpool and that’s a really good thing.”
Long live Takumi Minamino and his goals in cup matches - may many more trophies come to him because of them.