The international break has struck again after the Japanese FA announced on Saturday that Takumi Minamino has withdrawn from Japan’s squad after suffering an unknown injury. The statement gives no clues as to what the injury was or how serious it may be.
“Midfielder Takumi Minamino (Liverpool FC) has been withdrawn from the team due to an injury at SAMURAI BLUE, which is active for the Asian final qualifying (Road to Qatar) China national team match. We will inform you of additional convened players to replace Minamino as soon as they are decided.”
The only clue we have to the severity of the injury is a line in the article from the Liverpool Echo saying they understand that the injury is not serious. Hopefully, this proves to be true as Minamino is one of the few attacking depth options available for manager Jürgen Klopp with Roberto Firmino also sidelined at the moment.
If Firmino misses an extended run of matches, Minamino will likely be the first option off the bench to spell the front three. If his injury proves to be more than a slight knock, it could create headaches for Klopp.
After many supporters spent the last few weeks of the transfer window screaming for another attacking option, the loss of Firmino and Minamino in the space of a week will highlight why many felt Liverpool needed to add more attacking depth to avoid an injury crisis like we saw at the back when Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez were injured last season.
Fortunately, it sounds as though Minamino shouldn’t be shelved for too long, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Harvey Elliott could likely fill in as attacking depth should the need arise. So, while the Minamino and Firmino injuries do create depth concerns, there is no need to panic yet.