After a promising pre-season and three goals in his first three outings, Minamino is yet to truly kick on this campaign.
His last start came in the 2-0 victory over Midtjylland in the Champions League on October 27, going unused twice as one of Klopp’s substitutes, coming off the bench once and missing the matchday squad entirely on another occasion.
Wednesday night could bring a return to the starting lineup as Atalanta visit Anfield, with Roberto Firmino absent from training on Tuesday, albeit with no indication of an injury.
Minamino would do so with the faith of his manager, who fielded a question in his pre-match press conference over whether the forward’s absence was due to a “dip in form.”
“No, there’s no dip in form. Taki is training well. Yesterday he trained exceptionally, for example,” Klopp stressed.
“It’s the last session I have in mind, so it was really, really good.
“It’s not even form, it’s just a strong team, and offensively we don’t – thank god, I have to say – have the same problems we have in pretty much all the other positions.
“So it’s hard to get in this team, that’s how it is. But no dip in form, it’s just a challenge. That’s it.
“But Taki is a sensational boy and a great player, and he’s facing that challenge. He’s working hard and his time will come, no doubt.”
Klopp’s assertion that Minamino is training well, and that Monday’s session was “the last I have in mind,” could hint at a fourth start of the season for the Japanese against Atalanta.
His versatility makes him an interesting talent, as though he is arguably at his best in the No. 9 role, he showed bright form on the left of a 4-2-3-1 earlier in the season.
It could even be that, like Xherdan Shaqiri, his form improves deployed deeper as a No. 10, which could be facilitated in Klopp’s new formation, behind a quicker striker.
Shaqiri is currently sidelined, which certainly improves Minamino’s chances as the manager rotates his side, and both player and Klopp can only hope the stars align when he is given his opportunity.