Jurgen Klopp has taken full responsibility for Takumi Minamino’s loan exit and hinted at why the Japan international was under used at Liverpool.
The 26-year-old has only started 12 games since his arrival a little over 12 months ago.
And so Klopp has revealed it was a decision made between the pair that the forward would go on loan to Southampton.
It was a transfer that came out of the blue and while all the focus was on the incoming duo Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak, Minamino slipped out of the back door.
Klopp said: “Having options makes it the only chance to let a player leave. We didn’t say ‘no chance’.
“We thought about it and Takumi is incredible but we’ve not given enough chances that’s the truth. For different reasons.”
Asked why Minamino’s chances were at a premium, he replied: “Sometimes it was just a size thing because of our problems in defence and not being tall enough and could we get Takumi on the pitch. ‘How can we do that?’ Defending set pieces is very important. Not for the players or journalists but these things make a difference.
“There were not a lot of clubs where it makes sense to let Taki leave but Southampton it does. It helps Southampton and it helps us.
“Only thing he is lacking is a few games in a row. That was difficult here. I would have loved to have kept him. But Takumi is a long-term project here and always was. Makes sense he gets the chance to play games.”
“We see a lot of potential in Takumi. It makes sense he gets to play 17 games. He comes back in different mindset, confidence levels and I hope it’s a win, win,” said Klopp.
Asked just what Minamino has to do to establish himself at Anfield, Klopp added: “He just has to enjoy football again there. He’s an outstanding professional, top talent but we have a really good squad in the offensive part. My job is to make decisions based on what I think could be the outcome of the game. People fighting for places with him in good shape.”
Respect for Potter
“Sometimes it’s just the size that can make a difference.
“Sometimes it just hasn’t worked for Taki. And that is 100% my fault as well. But we both think it can work out for him playing 17 times for Southampton. Nothing to improve, just needs to play football and he will be fine.
“He doesn’t have to change anything, he does not have to improve, just play football, gain confidence and rhythm.”
Klopp’s men face Brighton at Anfield on Wednesday night looking to continue in their recent form after two wins over Tottenham and West Ham. The German though knows his men face a tough test and was baffled as to their lowly league position.
“I respect what Graham is doing there [at Brighton]. They have a clear idea, good players in the right positions.
“They stick to their idea and I respect that a lot. Against Spurs it was a deserved win. Controlled it. A football-playing side. I try to see them often.”