Tuesday’s Carabao Cup match against Norwich City looks like it could see Takumi Minamino getting his first appearance of the season. The last few seasons have seen the Reds fall out of the domestic cups early. And while it’s safe to say that everyone would rather they focus on the league and European races, missing out on those late-stage domestic cup games means many fringe players miss big opportunities for game time.
Minamino returned from Southampton this summer, and though he hasn’t earned a place on the pitch yet, it’s clear that he will have a role to play for Klopp this season.
In preparation for the game, and speaking at the pre-match press conference, coach Pep Lijnders praised the Japan international for his hard work and improvement in the early stages of this season.
“Jürgen said, ‘Wow, the amount of times Taki comes one-v-one against the goalkeeper,’ Lijnders revealed. “I said, ‘Yeah, it shows you don’t need super, super speed to come one-v-one with the goalkeeper.’ He is a very natural, intelligent mover. That’s what we need; we needed it already in the last games. He has this good timing to move in behind, good combination play when the players are close to him.”
Lijnders also confirmed that the thigh injury which caused Minamino to return early from international duty has cleared up and that he should be available, should Klopp choose to use him.