Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has rejected talk of a dip in form affecting Takumi Minamino’s game time since his move to Anfield.
The Japan international bred excitement at Liverpool upon his arrival from RB Salzburg in January. Indeed, the Austrian side employ a similar philosophy of football to Klopp.
And while the 25-year-old would have hoped to get more of a look in this season, Diogo Jota‘s signing has put paid to that prospect for now. The Portuguese has scored eight goals in his first 12 games.
As such, Minamino has remained a periphery figure, making nine outings this term. Such a number may look promising, but five Premier League games have accounted for only 58 minutes.
Despite that, Klopp was keen to shut down a potential explanation for the attacker’s lack of action at his press conference on Tuesday.
“It’s just a strong team, and offensively – thank God – we didn’t have the same problems as the other positions. It’s hard to get in this team – that’s how it is.”
Klopp also spoke fondly again of Roberto Firmino, adding that Minamino will battle the Brazilian for game time.
“But no dip in form, just a challenge. Bobby [Firmino] plays like 12 instruments in our orchestra! He’s very important for our rhythm.
“We can play well without him as well. Taki is a sensational boy and a great player, so he will face that challenge. His time will come, no doubt.”
Klopp could reshuffle Liverpool attack
Liverpool head into Wednesday’s Champions League tie with Atalanta having earned nine points from nine in Group D so far.
What’s more, three clean sheets and eight goals have boosted their goal difference. As such, Minamino could play a part if Klopp chooses to rest Firmino, Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah.
But despite knowing that a win will seal their progression to the last 16, Klopp insisted that he is not looking too far ahead.
“We can only play one game – we cannot play two or three games at once,” he added.
“It’s all on the table, it’s clear that if we win them some problems will be sorted. We know that we have to be ready again. Atalanta are a top team with a special way to play.”