Takumi Minamino has now arrived as a Liverpool player, and the Japan international’s performances for Salzburg this season promise big things.
The Reds sealed a surprise deal to bring Minamino to Anfield midway through December, triggering the forward’s £7.25 million release clause.
It came following interest from the likes of Man United, AC Milan and Borussia Monchengladbach, with Liverpool announcing their agreement after two meetings with Salzburg in the Champions League.
Minamino is the Reds’ first major January buy since Virgil van Dijk‘s switch from Southampton in 2018, and only the third permanent mid-season signing of Jurgen Klopp‘s reign.
He will unfortunately miss the visit of Sheffield United on Thursday due to Premier League rules, but he is set to come straight into the side for the clash with Everton in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.
While expectations should be low for the 24-year-old on his debut, and the likes of Andy Robertson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Fabinho will attest to Klopp’s preference for a slow transition, Minamino can bring immediate quality to Liverpool.
This is showcased in a highlight reel produced by Sky Sport Austria, including the best bits from his displays in the Champions League and the Austrian Bundesliga in the first half of 2019/20:
It, of course, begins with his brilliant ghosting run and volleyed finish in the Group E clash at Anfield in October, which elicited a telling response from the watching Klopp.
But it also includes his swift take and low finish against Genk, along with a driving run and sumptuous cross from the left to tee up Dominik Szoboszlai on the way to a 6-2 victory at the Red Bull Arena in September.
On the domestic stage, the video provides further evidence of Minamino’s prowess in front of goal, most notably with two goals after intelligent diagonal runs into space.
Minamino is a pacy, versatile, industrious forward capable of operating in a number of roles and both scoring and creating, which should suit Klopp’s squad perfectly.
“We’ll see how quick it goes, but the ways we play are not too different, and a lot of things that he learned already at Salzburg, that makes it so good for us,” Klopp recently explained of Minamino’s adjustment period.
“But of course, we have a lot of patterns in the game that are different to what Salzburg are doing.
“So offensively, when we speak about what he’s used to, it’s more or less defensively, but he’s an offensive player.
“[The question is] how can we bring him into the situation where he feels completely comfortable, and to use the things instinctively, and not because we told him.
“That’s what we speak every year about when you ask ‘why is he not already in [the team] all the time?’. There’s no pressure, even when he comes in January.
“This team is not struggling without him, so what we want is extra quality with him, different quality with him, and a really, really good player, and that’s what we got.
“From which point we can really use him, we will see; from which point we can see the 100 percent Takumi, there’s absolutely no pressure on the boy.
“[He has] so many good things that will help us, and from which moment on he can use all of them, we will see.”