Jurgen Klopp smiled and laughed when Takumi Minamino scored against Liverpool in the Champions League this season.
The Reds confirmed the signing of the Japanese international forward on Thursday, parting with just £7.25million – the price of his release clause – to get the transfer over the line.
Minamino’s transfer appeared to come out of the blue as the club hadn’t previously been linked with the 24-year-old, but it was in fact a long time in the making.
The Reds had been monitoring the forward for six months, and Liverpool’s two Champions League group games against Red Bull Salzburg this season provided the perfect opportunity for Klopp to see his future signing up close.
And it’s save to say Minamino didn’t disappoint.
After the first tie at Anfield, senior Reds players are understood to have been waxing lyrical about the forward to coaching staff in the changing room.
Salzburg proved the club is not some European minnow in that game, showing Liverpool absolutely no respect on their patch.
The went toe to toe with the Reds, and saw themselves go three goals down as a result – as many clubs do when trying to fight fire with fire against the world’s best team.
But Salzburg did spin the game on its head at one moment, in the second half when Minamino made it 3-2 before Erling Haaland then drew the scores level.
When Minamino found the back of the net the cameras panned to Klopp, who could be seen smiling and laughing on the touchline.
This isn’t the first time Klopp has reacted in this way to a team scoring against Liverpool – and it probably won’t be the last – so it’s perhaps irrelevant Minamino was on the scoresheet.
But it seems Klopp liked what he saw from the Japanese star as the club stepped up their interest following the ties and closed the deal before the January window opened.