LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 13, 2020: Liverpool's substitute Takumi Minamino during the FA Premier League match between Fulham FC and Liverpool FC at Craven Cottage. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Takumi Minamino makes surprise deadline-day loan move to Southampton

Takumi Minamino has made a shock move to join Southampton on loan for the rest of the season, with the Liverpool No. 18 struggling for game time since joining a year ago.

Minamino arrived at Anfield from Salzburg in the January transfer window in 2020, and has gone on to make 31 appearances for the Reds so far.

Only 12 of those have come as a starter, however, and only six of those came in either the Premier League or the Champions League, with the rest coming in the FA Cup or League Cup.

The 26-year-old was surprisingly overlooked in the seven league games following his first goal in the English top flight, going unused in six and playing six minutes in the other after scoring in the 7-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace.

Divock Origi was surprisingly preferred, and now Minamino’s absence has perhaps been explained as the Japanese has made the surprise switch to Southampton for the remainder of the season.

Liverpool confirmed the deal late into deadline day, with the versatile forward linking up with Ralph Hasenhuttl at St Mary’s.

The switch deprives the Reds of a useful attacking option for the rest of the campaign, but gives Minamino the opportunity to prove himself in the Premier League with chances limited on Merseyside.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, October 27, 2020: Liverpool's Takumi Minamino during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Liverpool FC and FC Midtjylland at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is unclear whether Jurgen Klopp sees Minamino returning to his first-team squad in the future, but departing on loan just over a year after joining does not bode well.

More likely is that Minamino will boost interest with his performances on the south coast, ahead of a possible permanent exit in the summer.

Good luck, Taki!