Is in-form Takumi Minamino ready to rival Roberto Firmino?

The Japanese attacker starred for Liverpool with two goals and an assist in a rampant 7-2 win over Lincoln City in the Carabao Cup. SCOTT MASON backs him to build on this performance and push for more playing time in the Premier League.

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Liverpool made 10 changes as they ran riot at Lincoln City’s Sincil Bank stadium with the Reds returning to Merseyside as 7-2 victors in the third round of the Carabao Cup.

Goals from Xherdan Shaqiri, Divock Origi, Marko Grujic, Curtis Jones and Takumi Minamino helped set up a fourth round clash at Anfield against Arsenal.

It was Jones and Minamino who came away from the East Midlands as their side’s star performers. The Englishman and Japanese both scored twice putting in impressive displays. However, the award can only go to one man and, unfortunately for academy graduate Jones, Liverpool’s No.18 just edged it.

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Everything about the January signing’s 90 minutes oozed confidence. He was dropping deep to collect the ball, playing between the lines and initiating presses at will. His first goal was taken excellently, hitting the ball first time into the top right corner with precision and power.

His second wasn’t quite as eye-catching, but the 25-year-old showed good awareness to run in for a rebound and tap the ball into an empty net.

He rounded off his two goals by setting one up for teammate Origi. The forward drove the ball from within his own half towards the home side’s box before passing a through ball into the path of the Belgian who hit Liverpool’s seventh past the beleaguered Imps ‘keeper Alex Palmer.

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Glimpses of what the Japan international could provide for this Liverpool team were evident back in March against Atlético Madrid in the Champion League, but it now seems that he has fully settled and integrated within the squad after a good pre-season.

His performance against Lincoln was Firmino-esque and it was the best we have seen of the former RB Salzburg man since he arrived at Anfield nine months ago.

After a good cameo against Arsenal in the Community Shield along with his man-of-the-match against Lincoln, Liverpool may have finally found their direct competition for Roberto Firmino. His name is Takumi Minamino.

All he needs to do to prove he is a serious rival for the Brazilian is perform in the Premier League. It may not be long before we see him do exactly that.

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