RB Salzburg boss Jesse Marsch has said that Takumi Minamino has what it takes to replace Roberto Firmino in the Liverpool line-up.
Minamino arrived at Anfield for £7.25million in January after an impressive half-season at Salzburg, which included a goal and an assist against the Reds in the Champions League.
The 25-year-old dynamic forward player can play in a number of positions and will likely be implemented by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp across the midfield and front line.
It remains unclear where Klopp sees Minamino in his team – partly due to the Japan international’s lack of action – but speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Marsch insisted that the player could play a similar role performed by Firmino.
“He won’t be the best at playing the position that [Mohamed] Salah and Sadio [Mane] play, because they are used in very explosive transition movements,” American coach Marsch said.
“I think he could be good in Roberto Firmino’s position where against the ball, he is ready to do some pressing, but then with the ball, he comes into almost a 10 position for build-up and gets in the box to score goals.
“Firmino is so good at it but I think that’s something Taki can do as well.
“And I think he can play the eight position that they play in the midfield, with the two wide spots where he’s ready to press and help pick up balls, but he’s also part of the build-up phases.
“Because he is so intelligent, I think either Firmino or the positions alongside the six in the system that they play in Liverpool would be good for him.”
Firmino is famed under Klopp for keeping Liverpool‘s well-oiled machine ticking over, often dropping back and helping the likes of Salah and Mane to receive the ball in dangerous positions, while also pressing for long periods.
Minamino, meanwhile, has only made seven appearances under Klopp and his progress has undoubtedly been stalled by football’s hiatus.
His Premier League debut came in January but his official Reds debut was in an FA Cup third-round win over Everton earlier that month.