“He can be a playmaker” – Jurgen Klopp happy with attacking versatility on show

Liverpool came from two goals down to win 7-2 in their final pre-season game against Blackpool and Jurgen Klopp was happy with an improved offensive showing.

The Reds were lacklustre in the first half but responded with six strikes after the break, plus Joel Matip‘s header right before half-time.

Speaking after the match, Klopp was happy with the Reds’ result and performance in the second 45, with particular words reserved for two attackers.

On Takumi Minamino, the boss noted there was another step forward and an impressive outing for the Japanese forward after his second goal in as many games.

But he also pointed out that the team needs to perform better as a whole if individuals are to be able to thrive.

“It’s important for Taki [to score again] and important for us, but it’s about all together, so I think about the overall performance,” Klopp said.

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - Tuesday, August 25, 2020: Liverpool's Takumi Minamino during a preseason friendly match between FC Red Bull Salzburg and Liverpool FC at the Red Bull Arena. (Pic by Propaganda)

“Individuals then can always shine when everything else works, that’s how it is. If you only have these individual glimpses here and there, it doesn’t really work out. So, we have to work to win football games.

“Who scores then is not too important. But for Taki, of course it was a rather nice seven or eight days.”

While Minamino played the whole match, Harvey Elliott impressed off the bench and netted his first goal in a senior Liverpool game.

The youngster as generally been used as a Mo Salah-lite: a runner in off the right flank, cutting in onto his stronger left foot to dribble or get shots away.

But there’s much more to his game than just relentlessly shooting, says the boss, who sees the scheming, creative side in Elliott’s game as something to be nurtured—just not at the expense of the relentless nature needed in the final third.

“It’s in his hands. I liked much more the offers he made today, he was really sharp, he was quick, he offered different runs to what he is usually doing.

“Inside this little boy is a playmaker, he can be a playmaker, but he has to be a finisher as well. You have to be a striker, you have to be a defender and all that stuff.

“That’s what we are all trying to figure out to bring it on the pitch – and that’s good, of course. It was very nice for him to score this goal today.”

The front three look set to be automatic picks for Klopp this season again, but it’s good to see the challengers and next in line options getting goals too—even if Saturday’s was against a much lower standard of opponent.