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Takumi Minamino Remains a “Long-Term Project” for Liverpool

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Manager Jürgen Klopp insists Minamino’s Southampton loan isn’t the end of his Liverpool story.

Liverpool FC v Atalanta BC: Group D - UEFA Champions League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

With Takumi Minamino struggling for minutes a full year after he was signed and now off on loan to Southampton for the remainder of the 2020-21 season, it might be easy to write off any potential Liverpool future.

Manager Jürgen Klopp, though, insists that isn’t the case. That despite his struggles to adapt and now a loan away from the club at 26, Minamino still has a future at Anfield and perhaps a role to play next season.

“I would have loved to keep him to have the option, but in the end because Takumi is a long-term project it makes absolute sense,” Klopp said when asked about the loan. “We see really a lot of potential in Takumi.

“Now he gets now the chance to play maybe 17 games, Premier League games, and then comes back in a completely different mindset, confidence level, all these kind of things. I hope it’s a win-win situation.”

If it’s true Minamino’s time with Liverpool isn’t done, a move to play for Ralph Hasenhüttl, who plays a similar system to the one Minamino was in at RB Salzburg, seems the ideal way to help him settle in England.

It should also be a system that places many of the same demands to press in a coordinated manner as at Liverpool. It’s no guarantee, of course, and Minamino will have a lot of work to do, but it is—maybe—a chance.

“Southampton asked and we thought about it,” Klopp added. “We didn’t give him enough chances, that’s the truth. There were not a lot of clubs it makes sense to let him go, but Southampton makes a lot of sense.”