Takumi Minamino (JPN), September 10, 2019 - Football / Soccer : FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Asian Qualifier Second Round Group F match between Myanmar 0-2 Japan at Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar, (Photo by AFLO)

Takumi Minamino suffers injury concern on international duty with Japan

Takumi Minamino has withdrawn from the Japan squad with an unspecified injury, which will undoubtedly lead to concerns for Liverpool after Roberto Firmino‘s hamstring blow.

Minamino was an unused substitute throughout Thursday’s 1-0 defeat to Oman, with Hajime Moriyasu likely saving him for the World Cup qualifier against China next week.

But the 26-year-old has not made the trip to Doha and will instead return to Merseyside to be assessed by Liverpool’s medical staff.

The Japanese FA confirmed in a statement on Saturday that Minamino “has been withdrawn from the team due to an injury,” though the nature and severity of the issue is as yet unclear.

It is not the first time the forward has left the Japan squad early this year, having pulled out of duty over the summer to focus on pre-season commitments with Liverpool.

However, it would appear that, this time, Minamino will require time on the sidelines, which comes on the back of a hamstring injury to Firmino in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea last time out.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 28, 2021: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino is substituted during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Firmino is not expected to miss a long period, but will likely miss the upcoming clashes with Leeds and AC Milan, with Diogo Jota due to start in his place.

Having both Firmino and Minamino unavailable reduces Jurgen Klopp‘s options significantly – particularly given the decision not to sign another striker before Tuesday’s transfer deadline.

Minamino is, ostensibly, Liverpool’s primary backup option beyond the regular four starters in attack in Firmino, Jota, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, with Divock Origi and Harvey Elliott the only other natural forwards in the squad.