LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 2, 2022: Liverpool's two-goal hero Takumi Minamino celebrates after the FA Cup 5th Round match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“What a guy, what a player” – Klopp and Milner laud Takumi Minamino’s “best game”

Jurgen Klopp and James Milner were full of praise for Takumi Minamino after his two goals sealed Liverpool a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals, in his “best game” so far.

Minamino made his 22nd appearance of the season on Wednesday night, and in coming up against Norwich in the FA Cup, made his ninth of those outings in domestic cups.

The Japan international struck twice in the first half, bringing his season’s goal tally to nine, averaging one every 99 minutes and netting more than all but three players in Klopp’s squad.

It is a marked improvement on the player who spent the second half of last term on loan at Southampton, and Minamino appears to have found a useful niche as a squad player at Anfield.

In his post-match interview with ITV, Klopp was asked if Minamino made an impression in the 2-1 win over Norwich, and he described it as “the best game he had for us.”

“He did, he did. But I’m not surprised. Taki is an incredible player,” he said.

“I think a big part of it tonight was for sure the best game he had for us. He played a super game and was a constant threat, kept all the balls.

“It was windy out there again, so with these high balls, how he took them down and all these kinds of things, that was really good.

“I’m not surprised, I’m really happy for him that he makes an impression.

“Without him, we wouldn’t be in the quarter-final, without him, we wouldn’t have been in the final of the Carabao Cup.

“Super guy and I’m really pleased for him.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 2, 2022: Liverpool's Takumi Minamino (C) celebrates with team-mates after scoring the second goal during the FA Cup 5th Round match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Milner played the full 90 minutes at right-back, captaining the side following Jordan Henderson‘s withdrawal on the hour mark, and he also spoke to ITV after the game.

The vice-captain gave a welcome insight into the squad’s view of Minamino, who is one of the most popular players in the group despite his reserved nature.

“He’s a great guy. What a guy, what a player,” Milner said.

“He’s been patient. Obviously, with the players we have there’s competition all over the field, but every time he comes in he’s ready and he delivers.

“Such a nice guy, you’re delighted for him every time he scores.”

Questioned on how Minamino’s latest two goals would affect him, Milner added: “He just carries on.

“Every single day he’s at that level. He’s brilliant in training, great temperament no matter what’s happening, and like I say, you can rely on him.

“He comes in and he keeps bagging goals – and important goals as well. Absolutely delighted for him to get those two.”