Takumi Minamino started the Merseyside Derby on the right-wing last night, and we actually thought he grew into the game as it went on.
The Japanese international’s first few involvements were poor, but he actually found his feet after the first drinks break and created a chance with some wonderful pressing before the break.
It was therefore a surprise that Jurgen Klopp decided to withdraw Taki at half-time, and the manager made a point of explaining his decision to bring on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain before the second-half – admitting that his choice wasn’t a perfect one.
“Taki was good as well. By the way, the change at half-time was a pure idea for me and nothing to do with Taki’s performance,” he told the official website. “He found the game in the first half absolutely and then we thought, ‘Come on, why wait until the player gets tired when you get the opportunity?’. That didn’t work out 100 per cent, but Ox was lively, very lively.”
We’ve never been a fan of using Ox on the right, as he thrives much more in central midfield – and he didn’t do an awful lot in the second-half.
Against Crystal Palace on Wednesday, we’d be surprised if Minamino started, as Mo Salah will hopefully be fit enough to play from the outset.
But we’re excited to see what he can offer the next time he gets called upon, maybe in a central position.