Takumi Minamino scored several goals to help Liverpool win the FA Cup and EFL Cup last season and supporters on social media have paid tribute to him ahead of his exit
Minamino, 27, failed to nail down a place in Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI since moving to Merseyside in January 2020, making just 55 outings in all competitions and spending the second half of the 2020-21 campaign on loan at Premier League rivals Southampton.
Yet the forward’s contribution to the Liverpool’s success since his arrival has been important, particularly last season. He scored four goals and provided one assist in the EFL Cup and found the net three times in the FA Cup. The Reds won both competitions.
Minamino also played a minor role in Liverpool’s Premier League title triumph during the 2019-20 campaign. The honour was almost secure when he signed in January, yet he still played 10 league games to help them get over the line and pick up a winners’ medal.
Liverpool fans have paid tribute to Minamino on social media for his efforts during the last two-and-a-half years. “All the best Takumi – we wouldn’t have won the domestic cups without your vital contributions,” tweeted one supporter.
White another fan wrote: “You have been an important player and you gave all you could for the team. Wish you all the best – thank you Takumi Minamino.”
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A number of clubs were reportedly interested in signing Minamino before the Monaco deal was announced on Tuesday evening – including Leeds, Fulham and Wolves. He has agreed personal terms with the Ligue 1 outfit and will complete a medical shortly.
Minamino is currently in Japan following the country’s June internationals against Paraguay, Brazil, Ghana and Tunisia. Japan have three more fixtures against Hong Kong, China and South Korea to play next month before the new European football season starts.
Minamino never fulfilled his potential on Merseyside but Liverpool will still make a profit from his sale. The Reds paid just £7.25m for the player when he arrived from Austrian outfit Red Bull Salzburg – more than doubling his price tag.
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Minamino’s minutes at Anfield were limited due to Klopp’s fabulous front line. The German had the likes of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Divock Origi, Luis Diaz, Roberto Firmino and Diojo Jota to choose from last term. Although Mane and Origi will not be part of Liverpool’s squad next season, Darwin Nunez will be following his big-money move to Anfield.
Monaco fans will be excited to see Minamino in action after five successful years at Salzburg. He scored 42 goals and provided 29 assists in 135 league outings between January 2015 and January 2020, helping them win the title in each season he was there.
Minamino has previously expressed a desire to play regular football. Klopp described the 42-cap international as a “long-term project” and a “top talent” in February 2021. The latter may still be true, yet he won’t be part of Liverpool’s squad moving forward.
“As a player I always want to play every match,” Minamino told a Liverpool matchday programme in December. “I think a kind of frustration is common for the players [who don’t play] but I like to turn this frustration into positiveness with my attitude.
“I put in a lot of effort every day to play more and to get game time, I want to play more games and I want to prove to myself that I can do much better, so I use my frustration to turn everything positive.
“The manager always tries to keep the players’ motivation higher. When I’m not playing in a match he always speaks to me and helps keep my motivation high…. [but] as a footballer the ages between 26 and 30 are your best time, the time when you can play at your peak as a player. For myself at these ages I would like to play as many games as possible.”