Takumi Minamino is back training for Liverpool ahead of the UEFA Champions League game with AC Milan. Could the 26-year-old face the Rossoneri?
Takumi Minamino is training with Liverpool again. The Japan international picked up a problem while away with his national side. He’s back now, though, and could be more useful than it first seems.
Minamino is hardly a regular, after all. He rarely starts and spent the second half of last season away with Southampton. But even when he’s present, Jurgen Klopp rarely turns to the 26-year-old.
But that might change this week and Minamino’s return could be very well-timed. We wonder if he might just face off against the seven-time European champions.
Minamino vs Milan?
While Minamino may not be a first-team favourite, he does appear to be above Divock Origi in the pecking order. The Belgian isn’t even making matchday squads when fit right now.
Saturday’s absence was telling. Roberto Firmino is out injured and yet Origi still wasn’t there. He doesn’t seem to be an option.
Instead, Klopp went with Diogo Jota from the start and then used Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in a False 9 role from the bench. That’s a role that Minamino may suit better, however.
Minamino’s last start for Liverpool came in just that role. That was last December – in a 7-0 win over Crystal Palace. Things really clicked for the playmaker in ways we hadn’t really seen before.
And so when Klopp turns to his bench against Milan, he may fancy using Minamino to make up for the lack of Firmino. Liverpool lack a natural fit as a False 9 without Firmino, after all, but Minamino can do it. The boss will almost certainly turn to that bench, too, as we expect a very strong XI.
But after an intense game against Leeds United, that will mean tired legs. Having Minamino as an option from the bench could be key for a couple of reasons, then.