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Takumi Minamino has Liverpool blueprint to give Jurgen Klopp what he needs

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Liverpool star Takumi Minamino was never meant to be the first name on Jurgen Klopp’s teamsheet – but he has struggled for minutes nonetheless since arriving from Red Bull Salzburg in January 2020.

Having spent just over £7m on the Japanese forward, the attacker was meant to be a useful squad player, brought in on a budget, and Minamino’s brace in the Carabao Cup against Norwich recently was a good example of that being the case.

That game, though, has been his only time on the pitch so far this season, with regular game time difficult to come by given Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota have all been playing.

Even Roberto Firmino’s injury against Chelsea has not afforded Minamino more minutes – with the Brazilian now back, that is another name to add to the list of players ahead of him in the pecking order.

READ MORE: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer avoiding £120m truth when targeting Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp

There is, though, some hope that Minamino can take from one of his teammates, Kostas Tsimikas, who has been playing well in the absence of first-choice left-back Andy Robertson this season.

Like Greek international Tsimikas, Minamino was brought in firmly with back-up status in mind, with a similar stylistic fit to those players with more quality who are ahead of him.

“I’m convinced that Minamino was signed as a beta version of Firmino,” said Josh Williams on the Analysing Anfield podcast.

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“If Firmino was ever out, you could get a similar profile of player in the team by using him.

Kostas Tsimikas is a cheap, alternative version of Andy Robertson that Liverpool have been able to get in for a cut price.

“If everything else in the system is the same, you don’t suffer that much because he is able to offer similar traits to Robertson.

“You can attack through him and he will create chances and deliver the ball perfectly.

“Robertson is still ahead of him and his overall game is far better, but in attack, when it comes to delivering crosses and set-pieces, Tsimikas might have the edge.”

Tsimikas, then, proves that it can be done: the left-back is not as good a player as Robertson, but has slotted into the Liverpool team nicely 12 months on from signing from Olympiacos, avoiding Klopp having to change his system or style when that is the case.

The next step forward for Minamino, should he have a long-term future at Anfield, would be to become a player of similar standing, where he can play and Liverpool’s style does not have to significantly alter.



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