Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has offered a surprising verdict on Liverpool loanee Takumi Minamino.
Jurgen Klopp, in his pre-match programme notes ahead of the Reds’ clash with the Saints earlier this month, said the Japan international is an ‘important’ player for his side.
Hasenhuttl has now seemingly suggested Minamino is somewhat struggling at Southampton, but hit the winger with some praise too.
Speaking to Hampshire Live, the Austrian said Taki is a hard worker. “I was not unhappy with him. The first half [against Fulham], he was good. The second half, you could see that it was his second game in four or five days,” he said.
“He hasn’t played so much in the past so it is normal that you then have a few moments where you struggle. He worked hard against the ball. I like this player.”
“He has some very good movements and is enjoying his work, I think, also,” Hasenhuttl continued.
Klopp reiterated that Minamino has a future at Liverpool in his aforementioned programme notes, stating the decision to allow him to leave in January was tough (read more here).
Although the 26-year-old was allowed to join Southampton, the Reds refused to give the Saints an option to make the move permanent.
As initially reported by The Athletic’s James Pearce, Hasenhuttl wanted to insert an option to buy clause in the contract – but it was rejected out of hand, making the loan move a fairly risk free endeavour for Liverpool.