Klopp ready to give Minamino debut in Merseyside derby

By Sports Desk January 01, 2020

Takumi Minamino is likely to make his Liverpool debut in a Merseyside derby FA Cup clash against rivals Everton, according to Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.

Versatile forward Minamino, who can also operate in a deeper midfield role, is not eligible to play against Sheffield United in the Premier League on Thursday after signing from Salzburg.

Liverpool will have the same squad that battled to a 1-0 home win over Wolves when the Blades head to Anfield with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joel Matip, Xherdan Shaqiri, Fabinho and Dejan Lovren not ready to return to action, while they have no fresh injury concerns.

But when Liverpool host Everton in the tie of the FA Cup third round on Sunday, Japan international Minamino is in line to make his first appearance for the recently crowned world champions.

"He will come into contention for Everton," Klopp told a news conference. "He's not allowed to play against Sheffield United.

"From the next moment, we're thinking about the squad. He was here yesterday and enjoyed it a lot, Sadio [Mane] and Naby [Keita] with the Salzburg DNA, it was really nice. 

"I'd like to be a new player in that group as they are really welcoming with open arms, it's really nice and he felt that. His English is OK, German is really good, that helps me but not the team. 

"We can talk, didn't too much yesterday but it's important he settles. We signed the player that was at Salzburg, just be who you are. We're looking forward to it. 

"We signed him, the guy who played like crazy against us [in the Champions League], be like that and it's fine. We'll see how it goes but in this period especially it will not be 15 weeks until we use him, it's not how it is. 

"Is he the finished article? I don't know. We start learning about him and it's what we want to do. He'll play but how many minutes I don't know."

Klopp, who indicated Liverpool are unlikely to make further signings in the January window, called for patience with Minamino.

"It would be crazy, really nice if you could give him time," Klopp added. "We have a really good team and offensively we have some of the probably best players in the world.

"He can play different positions. At the last press conference we spoke and my friends at the Daily Mail made a headline, 'he's really good, I have no clue where to play him'. 

"I wanted to say we have many options for him. I don't know when he starts or where but I don't have to know at this moment. We want to see his natural skills so will not fill him with information, we want him to be as natural as possible. All the people need to give him a bit of time.

"I asked [ex-Salzburg boss] Marco Rose and he was very positive, so he can start now, will learn English quick, speaks a little bit already.

"He was in the rondo with the English guys and there's a lot of talk, he didn't get a word with [James] Milner, Robbo [Andy Robertson], Trent [Alexander-Arnold] speaking. Not sure an English guy would understand them but he will adapt. Now he's here and he will work."

Minamino's arrival could push Adam Lallana down the pecking order with Klopp unwilling to give any update on whether the 31-year-old will sign an extension to his contract, which expires at the end of the season.

"Everything about Adam Lallana, Adam Lallana knows and I know. I'm really happy, he's in sensational shape," Klopp said. 

"He's a very important player at the moment and in the future, we will see. Most important thing is he is 100 per cent fit. He is in a perfect place."

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Griezmann set for new contract at Barcelona Rumour Has It: Griezmann set for new contract at Barcelona

    Antoine Griezmann could be set to renew his contract at Barcelona.

    The France international has faced criticism for failing to live up to expectations since joining Barca from Atletico Madrid last year.

    However, Griezmann may join the list of players renewing with the LaLiga giants.

     

    TOP STORY – GRIEZMANN SET FOR BARCELONA RENEWAL

    Griezmann could be among the next group of players to renew at Barcelona, according to EFE.

    It claims Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto may also re-sign, amid reports players are reducing their wages at the club.

    It comes after Barcelona announced the re-signings of Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Gerard Pique, Frenkie de Jong and Clement Lenglet on Tuesday.

    Griezmann scored 15 goals in 48 games for Barca last season, while he is yet to net in four appearances in 2020-21.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - A former Barcelona head coach could be set for a new job. Marca reports Palmeiras have made a move for Quique Setien after the departure of Vanderlei Luxemburgo.

    - Despite signing Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias in the close season, Manchester City are reportedly look for another defender. Fabrizio Romano suggested the Premier League giants are monitoring Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres.

    - Christian Eriksen's Inter future remains uncertain. CalcioMercato reports Inter turned down a loan bid from Borussia Dortmund in the close season, but the Serie A club could be open to the midfielder leaving in January.

    - After Virgil van Dijk suffered a serious knee injury, Liverpool are linked with defenders. The Sun says Brighton and Hove Albion would demand at least £50million for Ben White if the Premier League champions make a move for the centre-back in January.

  • Liverpool were 'vulnerable' against Ajax, says Ten Hag Liverpool were 'vulnerable' against Ajax, says Ten Hag

    Erik ten Hag felt Liverpool were "vulnerable" against Ajax as he rued bad luck in the 1-0 Champions League loss on Wednesday.

    Ajax had their chances but Nicolas Tagliafico's first-half own goal was enough for Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool in the Group D clash in Amsterdam.

    Liverpool were winless in three games heading into the encounter, and in action for the first time since Virgil van Dijk suffered a serious knee injury on Saturday.

    Ten Hag said he felt the Eredivisie giants could have taken advantage of the Premier League champions.

    "It would have been a big bonus if we had taken one or more points," the Ajax head coach said.

    "I think Liverpool was vulnerable. Unfortunately, we didn't make the most of that."

    Ten Hag added: "We were unlucky. We performed well collectively. We were convincing, but that last one per cent was missing – we didn't score even though we created many chances.

    "That's the story of this game, I think."

    Tagliafico turned in a miscued Sadio Mane effort 10 minutes before half-time for the game's only goal.

    Ten Hag said there were elements of Ajax's performance he was pleased with.

    "We knew Liverpool's strength, we wanted to prevent their full-backs, who are their playmakers, from going forward. That was one," he said.

    "The second thing is that we wanted to control the midfield. Daley [Blind] is very good at that, he's so calm on the ball. And in that way, we wanted to attack their defence with deep runs. I think we did that quite well a couple of times."

    While Trent Alexander-Arnold had a quieter performance for Liverpool, left-back Andy Robertson impressed.

    Robertson had the most key passes (five), passes (78), passes in the opposition half (56) and touches (104) of any player on the ground.

  • Klopp hails Fabinho performance against Ajax Klopp hails Fabinho performance against Ajax

    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp praised Fabinho's performance against Ajax, while insisting he was unsurprised by the Brazilian's display.

    With Virgil van Dijk sidelined due to a serious knee injury, Fabinho started at centre-back alongside Joe Gomez as Liverpool opened their Champions League campaign with a 1-0 win in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

    As well as producing a goal-line clearance to deny Dusan Tadic, Fabinho had four tackles, nine clearances and four interceptions.

    Klopp was pleased with the Brazil international as Nicolas Tagliafico's first-half own goal proved to be enough for Liverpool in Group D.

    "This combination with Joey and Fabinho, I don't think they played together before if I'm 100 per cent right. Maybe once but I don't really know," he told a news conference.

    "So they need to get used to each other, they need to get used to the verbal demands in that position – what you have to say there to help the midfielders and all these kind of things.

    "It was a really good performance but there's a lot to improve – how high or how low is the last line in which moment, in protection situations, in the pressing, 'How do we react there?' But it's no problem. It was absolutely good and now we carry on."

    With Van Dijk set to miss most, if not the remainder, of the rest of the season, Fabinho will play a key role for Premier League champions Liverpool.

    Klopp, whose team host Sheffield United in the Premier League on Saturday, said while the 26-year-old's performance was a boost, he was unsurprised.

    "Look, in our situation it helps. Of course, was there pressure on the situation? Yes, it's clear for the two in the back there, 100 per cent. First game together," he said.

    "Fabinho can play the position, he likes playing it actually. If I would have asked him to play right-back I don't think he would enjoy it as much as he's enjoying the centre-half position. In our situation in the moment we have to keep those boys fit and then they can of course help us a lot. I'm not surprised he plays well in the position otherwise we would have thought about a different solution, even when that would have been properly tricky.

    "I'm really pleased for tonight, pleased for him, yes it gave him confidence, for sure helped us. These situations [goal-line clearances], Millie [James Milner] had last season one against Bournemouth, which was a massive one. That tonight was a massive one. And so he had not only because of this a big hand in this victory."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.