It seems as if Jurgen Klopp has two types of signings: ones like Alisson Becker and Virgil van Dijk, who are obviously so good—that they would immediately improve the squad—that they need to start more or less straight away. And on the other hand, there are transfers that show all the right qualities to be a “Klopp player” but still need to learn some of the tactical wrinkles that makes the side run like a well-oiled machine.
So far, it seems as if Takumi Minamino falls into that latter category. The Japanese international is obviously talented, as his displays against the Reds with Salzburg in the Champions League proved earlier in the season. However, playing time isn’t coming so easily to the 24-year-old attacking midfielder.
Regardless, Minamino seems content at the moment to take his time to learn, and feels as if Liverpool is the right place for him to advance his career. Oh yeah, and he’s a top Red. That always helps.
“I like Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres and Liverpool was one of my favourite clubs growing up,” Minamino told Sky Sports in an interview.
”I was very impressed with their strong mentality to come back from 3-0 down and I remember how they played in that second half [against AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final].”
Aside from being a Liverpool fan (or at least a Liverpool admirer), there’s also clearly a great deal of respect for manager Jurgen Klopp.
“I cannot forget his words - two or three days after joining the club,” Minamino said about the boss. “He said I could play in any way I wanted to play and he said just enjoy playing in any way you want to play.
”So I was really happy as a player that he said that. In the locker room, he is very good at motivating players, so I want to respond to his motivation even in the practice sessions and in the actual games.
“I would like to contribute to the team winning the Premier League first, but the nearest target is just to play in the games, and make a goal, or even assist one.
”Of course I am really happy to be in this club, but it is not certain we are going to win the Premier League title yet. So to make it 100 per cent sure, I would like to contribute and to offer my power and strength to the team.”
I’m sure it won’t be too long before Minamino starts contributing his power and strength to the team. We’ve seen that he’s just too good of a player not to. As for now, he only has to look to the likes of Andy Robertson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Fabinho as players who took a while to get settled under Klopp, but are now first team regulars, if not nailed-on starters.