Since joining Liverpool in January of 2020 for £7.25 million, Takumi Minamino has been a subject of debate amongst fans.
Prior to arriving at Anfield, many fans would only have known who the Japanese international was from his exceptional performance against the Reds for Austrian outfit RB Salzburg in the Champions League.
The playmaker started the game for Salzburg alongside Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Erling Haaland and RB Leipzig star Hwang Hee-Chan, all of which got on the score sheet during the evening.Embed from Getty Images
This set the expectation high for Minamino, who many fans expected to come in and rival Roberto Firmino for the starting space in the first team.
However, upon his arrival at Anfield, Minamino failed to spark the imagination of the fans, failing to score at all during his first half season on Merseyside, despite scoring five goals and getting 5 assists in 14 league games in Austria, an average of 0.7 goal contributions per game.
He is still yet to get on the score sheet in the Premier League, however he did register a strike for Liverpool during the 2020 Community Shield against Arsenal. He has since also bagged a brace in the 7-2 victory against Lincoln City in the Carabao Cup.
This season, he has only managed five substitute appearances for Reds in the league, managing just 0.4 shots per game and completing 0.6 dribbles. However, in one start and one substitute appearance he is managed 1.5 shots per game, 0.5 dribbles per game along with 0.5 key passes per game.
With such a limited sample size however, it is likely that these numbers wouldn’t hold up in a whole game, as he has only played 58 minutes of domestic league football this season.
Despite not making the cut in the first team at Liverpool, Minamino is still a regular for Japan national team in their hunt for World Cup qualification.
He has scored five goals in four games for his country, an average of 1.2 goal contributions per game, showing that he has the ability to contribute at a good level.Embed from Getty Images
The current first choice at centre forward is Roberto Firmino. Last season, Firmino managed 9 league goals and 8 assists in 38 league games, an avarage of 0.4 goal contributions per game.
When you compare Firmino’s number of 0.4 goal contributions per game to Minamino’s 0.7 at Salzburg and 1.2 for Japan in the World Cup qualifiers, it is clear that Minamino could match Firmino’s output.
Obviously, these numbers are at different levels and the way the Jurgen Klopp sets his team up means that the central player isn’t always the central figure in the strike force, but it is clear that Minamino adds value to the side.
At the moment, it looks like Minamino is lacking confidence on Merseyside. If he can get some game time under his belt and score a few goals, there’s no reason Minamino couldn’t stamp his mark on the first team and change the opinion of some fans.
A good example of this is Roberto Firmino himself. The Brazilian failed to impress in his first four months at Anfield, but since his goal away to Manchester City and brace against Arsenal, he has been a revelation and has been key to the success the club has had.
Hopefully the former RB Salzburg man can adapt and make a similar mark that Liverpool’s number nine has made.
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