Liverpool are looking for answers to their attacking woes and they should consider giving Takumi Minamino another chance but several tweaks will be necessary.
The Japanese forward arrived at the club in January 2020 and while he won the Premier League with the Reds that season, he barely made an impact and following another poor half-season, he was loaned out to Southampton.
He’s impressed in bursts on the South Coast and while Liverpool likely cannot afford to give him the consistent game time he probably needs to come good in Red, he’s got the tools to help Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Many of you reading this are likely wondering what I am basing this on and it all comes down to two games from this season that Liverpool actually looked like the 2019/20 Premier League champions and they happen to be the 26-year-old’s last two starts for the club.
Minamino’s last two starts for the club came against Crystal Palace and Aston Villa.
The first was a 7-0 rout at Selhurst Park and while the Japan international only scored one goal, he was integral to the flow of the Reds’ game and he looked every bit the player that Liverpool signed for £7.25million.
The following game was a 4-1 over Aston Villa in the FA Cup third round and while the home side fielded a team of Academy stars, Minamino shone again and grabbed an assist.
Just as he was beginning to build up a head of steam, Liverpool loaned him to Southampton for the remainder of the season.
Before his loan spell, Minamino played 17 games in all competitions for Liverpool with a poor return of four goals and two assists but in all fairness, the vast majority of his game time came as a substitute.
Since then, however, he started just six times and never more than twice in a row, interrupting his flow.
Before a decision can be made on his future he either needs a full season on loan or more time in the Liverpool starting XI and given Roberto Firmino’s struggles over the last year, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Minamino, who Transfermarkt value at £10.5m, start ahead of Bobby.
To be totally fair to Roberto Firmino, many of his issues up front this season could be due to a lack of pre-season and accumulative fatigue but that’s why I’m confused as to why Minamino was sent out on loan.
Jota was injured at the time and Divock Origi has played just 8 times since the Japanese left on loan, with 0 goals and 1 assist to his name in the five months since.
Minamino’s ability to play between the lines and turn on a sixpence have been missed and that’s not to mention his tight control.
All he’s missing is the end product but given he got 9 goals and 11 assists in the 22 games of the 19/20 season that he played at RB Salzburg before his Liverpool move, I believe it’s a case of consistent game time being needed.