If there was any player in the Premier League that needed a loan move, it was Takumi Minamino after being frozen out of the Liverpool line-up ever since showing signs of his potential in a 7-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace. The former Salzburg man needed a move, so up stepped Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton to take Takumi Minamino in.
The talent of Minamino is there for all to see; he just needs an opportunity to gain consistency- something Southampton will undoubtedly provide. They gave Danny Ings a similar chance, in which Liverpool failed to provide, and ever since, the Englishman has become one of the most clinical forwards around.
Now, the opportunity presents itself at Southampton to Takumi Minamino to prove his doubters wrong in a team that thrives off doing exactly that. In his first game against Newcastle United, the Japanese international showed signs of what is to come by opening his Saints account. Now, it is about using his debut as the foundation for future success.
Southampton is the Perfect Place for Minamino to Prove Doubters Wrong
Chance to Star in Favoured Position
When at Liverpool, Minamino was asked on one too many occasions to be the square peg in a round hole. He was often asked to play in the centre of midfield. At Southampton, under Hassenhuttl, he can finally star in his preferred front three-position- a place he excelled in when at Salzburg.
And, that’s how Hasenhuttl can unlock the potential of the former Salzburg man whose performance at Anfield resulted in Liverpool making a move in the first place.
By interchanging with the likes of Danny Ings and Che Adams in a similar way in which he once did with Erling Haaland and Hwang Hee-Chan, Minamino can excel once more as proven by his debut against Newcastle United.
One swift touch before a statement-making finish into the roof of the net hopefully signalled a much-needed confidence change in Minamino’s ability. He struck the ball with the confidence of his Salzburg days and, importantly, not the confidence of a player who has spent most of his Liverpool career starved of opportunities.
Southampton System Suits Minamino
At Salzburg, Minamino was part of the perfect pressing system to his style of play. This is what attracted Jurgen Klopp to make his move for the Japanese forward. His ability to press with such intensity ticked a crucial box for Klopp and Liverpool.
Since arriving at Anfield, he has failed to utilise his greatest strength when out of position and has lacked the offensive freedom to push on. Klopp never seemed to trust Minamino’s defensive capabilities, and, therefore, failed to offer him the game time needed.
At Southampton, in Hasenhuttl’s system, Minamino can operate with more freedom, and, with the license to attack without as much consideration to the defensive shape on the pitch as his time at Liverpool. And this is when we’ll see Minamino at his best.
When given the freedom to press in an out-of-possession team, Minamino was at his best at Salzburg. He rocked up to Anfield with Haaland and co before coming ever so close to causing the biggest of upsets in a 4-3 defeat.
It was a performance which earned the seal of approval from Klopp, and many Liverpool players as he helped run rings around the Liverpool backline.
Now at Southampton, the pressing intensity of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s system, alongside the sharp counter-attacking capabilities, should help Minamino rediscover the form that secured him a move to the Premier League in the first place.
Embed from Getty Images