Jurgen Klopp says Takumi Minamino will be involved in Liverpool’s first-team if he’s ready, but that is completely up to the player himself.
The Japanese is training with his new team-mates after completing a £7.25m transfer from Rb Salzburg, and could make his debut on January 5th v Everton.
Klopp has alerted fans how he’s told the 24-year-old to be the player who performed ‘like crazy’ against us in the Champions League fixtures before Christmas – but has reminded supporters that there may be a period of time where Minamino will need to adapt.
“Not really. That was the little talk we had, that I told him that we really signed Takumi Minamino from Salzburg, the guy who played against us like crazy, who was self-confident like crazy,” Klopp told the official website when asked about fast tracking the Japanese…
“Just be that and everything else is fine. Then we will see how we will fit him in. In this period of the season especially, there will not be like 15 weeks until we use him, that’s how it is. Is it then the finished article in March? I don’t know. We start learning about each other from now on and that’s exactly what we want to do. He will have all the time he needs. But how much time he needs, I have no idea.”
With Xherdan Shaqiri and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain currently injured and Rhian Brewster likely to be sent on loan to Swansea [BBC Sport], Minamino will be required.
After the front-three, Klopp can either use Divock Origi or Minamino instead of the usual front-three.
There’s also the possibility Taki can play as a no.10 if Klopp switches to a 4-2-3-1, or potentially as a roaming no.8, too – although we think this is probably unlikely at the minute considering the tactical and defensive demands of the position.
Minamino mostly played on the right for Rb Salzburg, so we think he could be in this spot often, as the rest of our strikers are very versatile and can play on either flank or centrally.