Jurgen Klopp admits he “didn’t give enough chances” to Takumi Minamino

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Jurgen Klopp has explained the reasons behind Takumi Minamino‘s loan departure and why he takes “100 percent” the blame for not giving “enough chances” for him to shine.

After mostly expecting incomings in the form of centre-backs on deadline day, Minamino’s loan switch to Southampton came as a shock merely one year after his arrival at Anfield.

The Japan international has been strangely left on the periphery of Klopp’s plans having made just 31 appearances in his Reds career to date, where he played only 743 minutes this season.

The 26-year-old was often overlooked in favour of Divock Origi, with only four starts coming in the Premier League and Champions League combined.

Despite showing promise in the thumping of Crystal Palace prior to Christmas, where he netted his first goal in the topflight, he would play just a further six minutes in the league up until his departure.

It’s a move which will surely benefit Minamino, playing under Ralph Hasenhuttl in an exciting Southampton outfit and Klopp spoke of the reasons for the departure of the No. 18 and his hopes for the player to return with confidence and rhythm.

“Of course, having options makes it the only chance that you can give a player to another club,” Klopp told reporters.

“But we really thought about it and Takumi is an incredibly good player and we didn’t give him enough chances, that’s the truth.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 19, 2020: Liverpool's Takumi Minamino scores the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace FC and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“That’s for different reasons, sometimes it was just the size because of our problems in defence and we were not tall enough – and then Takumi on the pitch and I think ‘how can we do that.’

“Defending set-pieces is very important and for the player it is not too interesting and for journalists it’s probably not interesting, but in some moments these things make the difference why one player is playing and another not.

“When Southampton came up, there was not a lot of clubs where I thought it makes sense to let him go but Southampton makes sense.

“He’s there for 17 games now, I think, and in the situation Southampton is in, I think if Takumi stays fit then he has a good chance of playing 17 games which helps then everybody – helps them and us.

“The only thing lacking was a couple of games in a row, that was difficult here and I would have loved to keep him to have the option.”

But while Minamino’s short-term future lies on the south coast, Klopp was quick to stress that he has always been considered “a long-term project” at Liverpool, where game-plans and teammates have thwarted his chances to date.

“But Takumi is a long-term project, always was. We see a lot of potential in Takumi and it makes absolute sense for him to play maybe 17 games in the Premier League,” Klopp continued.

“And then he comes back in a different mindset, confidence level all these kind of things so I hope it is a win-win situation.

“He just has to enjoy football again there. He’s an outstanding professional, a top talent and a really, really good player so it’s all good.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 20, 2020: Liverpool’s manager Jürgen Klopp prepares to bring on substitute Takumi Minamino during the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

“We have a really good squad, we struggled a lot but not really in the offensive part of the pitch and then my job is to make decisions on what I imagine could be the outcome of the game.

“For example, the people fighting with him for a place were in really good shape. Shaqiri showed up, Divock we know what he did in the past and sometimes the size can make the difference.

“So it didn’t often work out for Taki that he could start a game or come on, that’s 100 percent my fault as well but we both think that we can sort that by playing 17 times, if possible, in the Premier League.

“He doesn’t have to change anything, he just has to play football and to gain rhythm and confidence and then he will be fine.”

The switch does see Liverpool’s attacking ranks depleted by one at a time when both Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane are unavailable, albeit both are expected to return this month.

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