It has been a strange start to life at Liverpool for Takumi Minamino, but Jesse Marsch—his manager at Salzburg—believes he will get “better and better” over time.
Minamino has been at the club for three-and-a-half months, having made the £7.25 million switch from Salzburg at the start of the January transfer window.
But so far the Japan international has made just seven appearances, three of which have been as a starter, with the last month spent in limbo as football is suspended.
This makes for an interesting adaptation period for the 25-year-old, unable to play for his new club or even train with his team-mates beyond regular video calls from home.
But Marsch—who managed Minamino in the first half of this season and followed him during his own extended spells with New York Red Bulls and RB Leipzig—believes he will blossom over time.
“When I came [to Salzburg] I knew right away he was going to be a big part of what we were going to be about,” he told ESPN FC.
“He’s smart, he’s very clever. He’s not pure explosive, but he understands football, he understands how to make final plays, he understands tactics.
“So what you have at Liverpool is so many incredibly talented and experienced players that play ahead of the ball that it might take a little time for Taki to really establish himself in that group.
“But I think over time they’re going to figure out more and more and more that he can play almost any of the front six positions for Liverpool.
“Because he’s so smart and clever that he’ll figure things out, that he’ll get better and better as he goes.”
The American, who revealed he had tried to bring Minamino from Salzburg to New York during his time with the MLS club, acknowledged that the forward’s performances are yet to come together for Liverpool.
But he claimed that with his former charge impressing at Melwood it is “only a matter of time” before he contends for a regular starting place under Jurgen Klopp.
“I’ve heard that in training he’s done really well, and they’ve been really impressed, but in games it hasn’t quite come together for him,” Marsch continued.
“So it might take a little bit of time but, knowing Taki, he’s the kind of guy that has so much drive and will find a way to get better every day.
“It will only be a matter of time before he’s a bigger part of what they’re doing there.”
It would be easy to forget Minamino at this point, with Liverpool not having played since March 11 and him adopting a minimal role so far as he struggles to supplant Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
But there is a clear belief that he will settle in and make an impact eventually, which is an exciting prospect for the future.