Recent Liverpool signing Takumi Minamino has explained the circumstances that led to his transfer to Anfield – and at his surprise at signing for the “best club on the planet”.
The £7.25million signing from Red Bull Salzburg made his debut in the FA Cup third-round win over Everton but was back among the substitutes, where he was unused, in the 1-0 win over Tottenham on Saturday.
The last few weeks have proved something of a whirlwind for the Japan star, who was something of an unknown prior to Salzburg’s Champions League adventures this season.
And reflecting on his move to Anfield, he told France Football: “I received an offer from what is currently the best club on the planet, that means a lot to me.
“I felt that I was very fortunate, a wonderful opportunity that I really wanted to take. Everything began with my entourage, I knew that Liverpool were interested in me.
“I was surprised, but after having faced them twice in the Champions’ League and having had the opportunity to speak with Jürgen Klopp, I became more and more excited to take this challenge on.
“The fact that I scored a goal at Anfield gave me a certain level of confidence. I said to myself that I want to savour this atmosphere more often.
“It is all the love that I have received from the manager, the staff and my team-mates… Liverpool gives you a phenomenal environment in which to focus on football.
“I remember that Jurgen Klopp came to see me after the first training session and said to me: ‘Don’t worry about who you are playing with now, play in the same way as you did at Salzburg, play the Minamino way. Enjoy yourself!”
“He scored [at Anfield against Liverpool], 24 years of age,” Shearer said on the BBC.
“When you look at the price that they’ve paid for him, just over £7m was his release clause, he’ll fit perfectly I think into this Liverpool team – It’s going to be very difficult to get into it.
“In terms of where he plays he can play anywhere along that forward line.
“He’s already got nine goals this season so what an opportunity for him, starting with today.”
Klopp, however, has pleaded for Minamino to be afforded time to find his feet and speaking a week after his arrival, the German said: “That would be really nice if you could give him some time. We have a really good football team already and he’s an offensive player.
“I think it’s the same situation (as van Dijk). When he (VVD) came in I decided in the morning why not (play him) – let’s give it a try and it was a good decision.
“Takumi is here and had three sessions with the team. That’s not so much but it’s football. He kind of a time off when Salzburg had a winter break. We were not allowed to bring him here to train so he was back in Japan. He came here in good shape – let’s see.
“We signed the player, he was at Salzburg, so he doesn’t have to change in the moment, just be who you are and then we start working on that and I am looking forward to it.”