Takumi Minamino‘s first Premier League appearance did not leave him satisfied, and he is eager to repay Jurgen Klopp‘s faith.
It was an unexpected Premier League debut for Minamino after he was thrown into the mix merely 33 minutes into the meeting with Wolves.
Sadio Mane’s hamstring injury enforced the change, with Klopp opting to hand his newest addition his first taste of topflight action instead of turning to Divock Origi or Fabinho.
It was a baptism of fire for Liverpool’s new No. 18 as Wolves proved to be the Reds’ toughest opponent of the campaign to date, where a 2-1 win was secured with just over five minutes of regulation time remaining.
The manager later described his outing as a “super start” as “ from a tactical point of view it was an outstanding game.”
His appearance at Wolves was just his second since arriving at Anfield and despite Klopp’s glowing review of his performance, it was one Minamino was personally “not satisfied with” as he looks to continue his transition into the side over the coming weeks and months.
“I feel the manager’s trust in me, so I really want to repay him,” Minamino said.
“Personally, I’m not satisfied with my own performance [at Wolves], so I want to meet the expectations of the people who support me.
“I was mentally ready to go and all I was thinking was how to fit into the team smoothly and get into the game.
“I don’t feel any pressure. I’m not sure how much expectation has been put on me, but I have nothing to lose.”
Despite battling through a calf issue for much of the game, which needed treatment at halftime, Minamino’s work rate could not be questioned and he completed 96 percent of his passes in what was an impressive first 57 minutes in the Premier League.
The 25-year-old’s words reflect the common message out of the Liverpool camp this season, that every performance can be improved on both a personal and collective level.
There’s no resting on their laurels for this group of players as despite both internal and external praise, the pursuit of perfection continues.
And for Minamino he has identified the development of chemistry with both Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold as a key to taking his game to the next level with the Reds having featured on both the left and right flanks against Wolves.
“I can play on either side, but it was more about how to link up with the full-backs,” Minamino continued.
“If we can build a better understanding of each other, I’m sure it will get even better.”
His versatility has already been on show since his arrival and if fit and able, he will again be provided with invaluable game time in the fourth round FA Cup tie with Shrewsbury on Sunday, where Klopp is to inject “fresh legs.”