To little surprise from many Liverpool fans, Takumi Minamino started his Southampton career with a bang, scoring on his debut for the Saints with an extremely well-taken effort.
It’s worth reminding supporters the Japan international is only on a short-term loan deal, with no option to buy, and will return to Anfield this summer.
That being said, the positives to allowing Minamino to depart Liverpool this winter should already be apparent from those two sentences alone.
While keeping Taki at the club and potentially moving on Divock Origi would have likely been a better plan of action, something stopped Jurgen Klopp from doing that.
Whether it be the Belgian forward’s strength off the ball or a lack of interest in the No.27, it was Minamino who was given a way out of Liverpool last month.
And that’s probably a good thing. Let me explain. Taki wasn’t afforded many chances to play, despite performing well, so a short-term loan to Southampton provides him with more match-time at Premier League level – that last bit is also important.
The Reds’ flat-out rejection of an option to buy in the deal shows Klopp still very much sees Minamino’s future at Anfield, so this move away doesn’t indicate the end.
All that being said, even though we’d have preferred Taki to stay, and it’s bittersweet seeing him smashing it at Southampton already, he’ll come back to Liverpool a better player, ready to fight for his place in the 2021/22 season.