Jurgen Klopp says Taki Minamino is in a good shape and accepts the criticism pointed his way for not using the Japanese in any of our past three matches – all three of which we’ve failed to win.
Before that, Minamino scored the opening goal in our 7-0 demolition of Crystal Palace and put in his best performance for us – so to see him unused in 270 minutes – especially with Liverpool needing goals – seemed like a statement of Klopp’s faith in him…
But yesterday during his press-conference before tonight’s Aston Villa FA Cup tie, Klopp reiterated his feelings towards Minamino as a footballer and said he will be involved more from now on.
“You come in, a new club and everybody thinks that you will score 20, 30, 40 goals and stuff like this,” he told the official website.
“He is in a good shape – a really good shape – he developed, he got used to it. He was a good player when we signed him, obviously, but he got used to the intensity, the league, training, all this stuff.
“He made big steps. I know the last game he played was Crystal Palace and since then we didn’t win another [game], so we should think about involving him, obviously.”
The FA Cup fixture is a good place to start, obviously – with Taki an almost certain starter in the frontline.
With Villa likely to field an U23 side, it’s a big chance for Liverpool to score a bucketload, as well.
Maybe Klopp will enable Mo Salah and Sadio Mane to regain some confidence in front of goal, but in all likelihood, he’ll save their legs for Manchester United next weekend.