Takumi Minamino was an absolute transfer coup this month, but it seemed as if manager Jurgen Klopp was content to let the Japanese international train and learn with the team before having any difficult tests. That option was taken out of Jurgen’s hands when Sadio Mane pulled up short after just 30 minutes of play with an apparent hamstring injury.
At the time, Liverpool were keeping the Wolves at bay, but the hosts have shown time and again their ability to play spoilers when the “Big 6” sides come to town.
Under these circumstances, you’d expect any new signing to come in and find it difficult. At times all Liverpool players found it difficult last night.
Minamino was no exception. However, the former Salzburg man grew into the match, and did enough to impress the boss in the end.
“Super,” Kloppo summed up when asked about his performance after the 2-1 win. “We had the situation that Sadio goes off, we played tonight slightly different to usually. We had to defend in a 4-4-2 then played offensive in our normal system.
“Taki had now two or three weeks training with us, played different positions in training at least, played centrally in the FA Cup game, now played right and left wing.
“He can play that, we need him, but he is not a winger in this understanding, he’s a player for between the lines so Oxlade had then to be a bit higher so that we had still offers in behind, so we can still stretch the formation.
“So it was really difficult for Taki, he felt immediately the calf, at half-time he needed treatment – we hope it’s nothing and he could go through so it should be fine. That was for the first Premier League game exceptionally well and he is completely integrated in the team and that’s really good.”
Aside from the unenviable task of replicating Mane’s offensive production and defensive work rate, Minamino was also being asked to play in a changed system from normal. Plus we all know how capable this Wolves side is. As such, it certainly isn’t fair to judge the new signing on last night’s performance.
I think we all wanted to see a little more from the new signing, and there’s little doubt that we will.