Liverpool today announced the signing of Takumi Minamino from Red Bull Salzburg in an exciting deal to go through once the transfer window opens in January.
The Japan international looks a huge talent after shining in his time in Austria, and it seems unlikely he’s made his way to Anfield only to sit on the bench.
Liverpool fans will already have got a good glimpse of Minamino in their clashes with Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League this season, with the 24-year-old looking the real deal.
Still, Jurgen Klopp already has one of the best attacks in the game right now, with none of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah or Roberto Firmino likely to drop out of the starting XI any time soon.
Hello, Liverpool fans! I am very happy to be part of Liverpool Family. Always try to do my best for Liverpool FC!!! tm18 pic.twitter.com/mLedDx1OAT
— TakumiMinamino ???? (@takumina0116) December 19, 2019
What will this mean for Minamino? We think it surely has to mean Klopp works him into the team somehow, most likely with a slight change in formation.
It would make sense for LFC to now line up in a 4-2-3-1, with Minamino slotting in as part of an attacking midfield three, though he could fill a number of different roles in that area.
One way could be in the image above, with Minamino playing a fairly free number ten-esque role and Firmino keeping his place as the main striker.
That would allow Salah and Mane to operate in a similar way to how they do now, linking up with Firmino from the right and left flanks, respectively.
However, given Firmino often ends up essentially dropping back to play that number ten role himself, it could mean we actually see Liverpool line up more like this…
Firmino’s scoring record suggests it might not make sense to push him into becoming more of a traditional number nine, so he could drop deeper, allowing Salah to move into an area where he’s most effective, with Minamino then playing out wide.
One imagines Klopp will tinker with his tactics a little and try a few different things, but provided Minamino settles and becomes the player he looks capable of being, it’s surely got to be one of the two line ups above for the foreseeable future for Liverpool.