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

  • No deals yet for Lingard or Williams as Solskjaer confirms Man Utd plan for Diallo No deals yet for Lingard or Williams as Solskjaer confirms Man Utd plan for Diallo

    Manchester United are yet to agree loan exits for Jesse Lingard or Brandon Williams, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer intends to keep Amad Diallo at the club.

    Teams including West Brom, West Ham and Sheffield United have been linked with England international Lingard, who has started just twice and not made a single Premier League appearance this season.

    Solskjaer has agreed to allow the 28-year-old, who last scored in the 2-1 Europa League win over LASK in August, to seek a loan move in order to find regular playing time and perhaps earn an international recall.

    Full-back Williams, who has played only six minutes in the league this season, and young winger Facundo Pellistri are also set to be loaned out, with the latter tipped to join either Club Brugge or Deportivo Alaves.

    However, United manager Solskjaer has different plans for Diallo, with the 18-year-old close to being declared ready for first-team duties despite arriving in England from Atalanta only on January 7.

    "They're still part of our club, part of the squad, training well," Solskjaer said when asked about Lingard and Williams. "No deal has been struck for any players yet going out, there is still a little period left, of course. There have been many clubs interested in our players, so let's see what happens.

    "For me, it's also important to take our wishes and our plans into consideration, but the players, of course, are Manchester United people and players through and through.

    "There have been talks [about Pellistri] and there have been quite a few clubs interested in Facundo to go out on loan, and that is maybe something we will let him do now. He's had a few games in the reserves, we want him to have regular football at a high level.

    "With Amad, it's a different scenario, he's going through a good training regime and training programme. He's doing well and it won't be too long before I can bring him into the squad."

    The Red Devils face Sheffield United on Wednesday, looking to extend a seven-game league winning streak at home against the Blades that stretches back to August 1975.

    Solskjaer's men sat top of the table after 19 games but knew Manchester City could move a point above them by beating West Brom on Tuesday.

    Struggling Sheffield United will go into Wednesday's contest 35 points behind the Old Trafford outfit, which, paradoxically, could give them some hope: Manchester United have only won one of their past six league matches against teams over whom they have held such a points advantage in the table, losing two of the previous three at home.

  • Chelsea job not too soon for Lampard, who will bounce back - Ancelotti Chelsea job not too soon for Lampard, who will bounce back - Ancelotti

    Frank Lampard did not take the Chelsea job too soon and will make a swift return to management, according to Carlo Ancelotti.

    Chelsea sacked their all-time leading goalscorer Lampard on Monday just 18 months after he arrived from Derby County, where he began his career as a coach one year prior.

    He steered the Blues to a top-four finish in the Premier League and to the FA Cup final, but a run of two wins in eight top-flight games left them 11 points off leaders Manchester United in ninth.

    Ancelotti, who coached Lampard for two years at Stamford Bridge, does not think Lampard was too inexperienced for the role.

    "No, I don't think so," the Everton boss replied when asked if Lampard had taken the Chelsea job too soon. "I think where you start a career as a manager or a player, every career you don't have experience.

    "It's important to have knowledge. I think what Lampard did as a player and what he did as a manager before going to Chelsea, has knowledge of football. When you have knowledge of football you can grow your experience, but everyone that starts a career has no experience.

    "I want to compare to [Juventus coach Andrea] Pirlo. Of course they don't have experience, but experience is not the most important part of your job. The most important part is the knowledge and the management. And after that with the knowledge you can grow, you can improve your experience."

    Ancelotti considers being sacked to be part and parcel of football management and does not think it will take long for Lampard to find another position.

    "It's not unusual that a manager is sacked. Frank Lampard knows this. My personal opinion is that getting sacked is part of our job. We have to understand this," said Ancelotti.

    "I was sacked everywhere, so I have to consider the fact it's part of our job. Frank will soon find another opportunity because he's a good manager. He did well at Chelsea but for the club it was not enough. It's simple.

    "In the end it's not sad news. One door closes and for him that is Chelsea – I understand that Chelsea was his club, he played for them, but for sure he is going to have another opportunity soon."

    Jose Mourinho is the only manager to have led Chelsea for more than two consecutive seasons – he did it in both his stints at the helm – since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003.

    However, Ancelotti does not consider the Blues to be a tougher place to work.

    "Chelsea is not more difficult than other clubs, it's the same," he said.

    "Every club has expectations and when things aren't going how they like, what are they going to do? They are going to change 20 players? The easiest way is to change the manager.

    "This is what happens in football. All managers know this. We have to consider this part of our job and nothing more."

  • Morris rues Lampard sacking: Chelsea have never had staff who cared more Morris rues Lampard sacking: Chelsea have never had staff who cared more

    Chelsea have never had coaching staff who cared more about the club than the group led by Frank Lampard, according to his assistant Jody Morris.

    Head coach Lampard and Morris were removed from their positions on Monday to make room for Thomas Tuchel, who is on the brink of being appointed at Stamford Bridge.

    Chelsea great Lampard released a statement ruing the fact he was not given more time to turn the situation around, the Blues having slumped to ninth in the Premier League at the halfway stage this season.

    The former England international was nonetheless proud of what he had done to help promote younger players to the first team.

    They were sentiments echoed by Morris, who praised Lampard for working "tirelessly" to improve the squad.

    "I am immensely proud to say I have been stood next to our gaffa Frank Lampard who has worked tirelessly to improve the players and the culture every single day," Morris wrote on Instagram.

    "Us as your staff could not ask for a better leader!!

    "There has never been a bunch in that dugout that cared more inside Stamford Bridge!!

    "I'm even prouder of the work that has gone on day in day out at Cobham in what has been the toughest period anybody has had to face in charge."

    Former Chelsea midfielder Morris – who thanked the fans and owner Roman Abramovich – was also with Lampard at Derby County in the Championship.

    He added: "Yesterday [Monday] was tough to take on all levels.

    "It has hurt twice previously that I've had to leave this great club, but it's been on my terms and both times it was done with the bigger picture for myself and my family in mind.

    "I've always felt lucky to be able to say I've played for the team I've supported since I was a young boy growing up on north end road.

    "Chelsea is and always will be my club no matter what."

    Former Chelsea player Pat Nevin, meanwhile, felt it would have been a difficult decision for Abramovich to take.

    And he is most concerned about the impact on some of the youngsters Lampard brought through.

    "I am desperately saddened to see Frank Lampard leaving the club, but then again who isn't," he wrote on the Chelsea website.

    "I suspect those who made the decision are saddened too. In fact, if you aren't upset at all then you almost certainly aren't a true Chelsea fan.

    "The players need to get their heads right after such a shock.

    "It is going to be a particularly big ask for some of the younger players who have had Frank and his coaching team to thank for their opportunities and who each looked to him as a mentor. 

    "They must be professional now and work with the new coach, but it is undoubtedly a concerning time for them."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.