Ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League encounter with Brighton tomorrow night, Jurgen Klopp saw his pre-match press conference end with another question regarding Takumi Minamino.
Minamino has been sent on loan to Southampton for the second-half of the season, the Athletic report that the ace’s wages will be covered by the Saints whilst a loan fee could be worth up to £500,000.
The Japanese attacker who cost the Reds £7.25m from RB Salzburg last January has been handed the chance of more regular first-team football after falling out of the first-team picture at Anfield as of late.
Minamino appeared just three times in Liverpool’s last nine games across all competitions, amassing a minimal total of just 157 minutes of action.
Klopp was asked about what ‘went wrong’ for the 26-year-old over the last month or so that saw him plummet down the pecking order and was quizzed on what the ace needs to do at Southampton.
The German came back with a brutally honest response, stating Minamino just needs to ‘enjoy football again’ after a difficult spell, with Klopp reiterating the ace is an ‘outstanding professional’.
See More: (Video) “We didn’t give him enough chances”: Klopp’s honest assessment of Minamino’s move to Southampton
Here are the comments on Takumi Minamino that Jurgen Klopp made regarding the ace’s loan move to Southampton to end his press conference before Liverpool vs Brighton… pic.twitter.com/ZBxjQcdnRx
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“He just has to enjoy football again there. He’s an outstanding professional, really a top talent, a really good player so it’s all good, but then we have a really good squad.”
“We’ve struggled a lot but not really in the offensive part of the pitch, my job is to make decisions based on what I imagine could be the outcome in the game.”
“So for example, the people fighting with him for a place are in really good shape – Shaqiri when he came back showed up extremely, then with Divock – we all know what Divock did for us in the past.”
“Sometimes it’s just the size… not often enough out for Taki that he could start a game or come on, that’s 100% my fault as well, but I think we both think that we can solve that by playing him 17 times if possible in the Premier League.”
“He doesn’t have to change anything, he doesn’t have to improve in anything, he just has to play football – to gain rhythm and confidence in that moment, it will be fine.”
Klopp touched on the fact that he’s seen Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi as more favourable options for the Reds as of late, with their styles of play, characteristics and skill perhaps better fits at a time where Liverpool found themselves in their worst run of form for quite some time.
Southampton are a side that sit 11th in the Premier League table and have shown some serious quality this season – including handing the Reds a defeat in their first league game of the year.
Whilst Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men have been on a bit of a slide as of late, they play the kind of football that could be ideal for a player like Minamino to flourish and find that ‘rhythm’ and ‘confidence’ he’s missed.
Minamino has started in 12 of his 31 appearances for Liverpool since joining, scoring four times and contributing two assists.