Takumi Minamino (file pic).
New Face

‘Play the Minamino way and have fun’ – Klopp

The Japan international has linked up with Premier League title hopefuls at Anfield.

LIVERPOOL’S LATEST recruit has been told to “play the Takumi Minamino way and have fun”, with the Japan international determined to make his mark at Anfield on the back of a £7.25 million ($10m) transfer.

Jurgen Klopp has further bolstered his ranks during the winter transfer window by luring another hard-working forward away from Red Bull Salzburg.

Minamino could prove to be quite the bargain, with a relatively low release clause having been triggered in the contract he was working under in Austria.

A positive first impression has been made by the new boy, with a lively performance put in as part of the youthful Reds side which claimed a 1-0 FA Cup derby win over neighbours Everton.

The challenge now is to build on that showing, with Klopp looking for Minamino to stay true to the approach which has got him to Anfield, rather than worry about changing his ways in England.

“Only a few days have passed since my arrival, but I already have the impression of playing here for several months,” Minamino told France Football of his arrival at Premier League title hopefuls.

“That’s all the love I got from the manager, the staff and my team-mates … Liverpool offers you a phenomenal environment to focus on football. 

I remember Jurgen Klopp came to me after the first workout and said, ‘Don’t worry about what’s around you, play the same way you did Salzburg, play the Minamino way. And have fun!’.”

The 24-year-old is eager to repay the faith shown in him by “the best club currently on the planet”, with an opportunity having presented itself that was too good to turn down.

Quizzed on why he agreed to link up with Liverpool, Minamino said: “I received an offer from the best club currently on the planet, which means a lot to me. 

“I felt it was a great opportunity, a great opportunity that I really wanted to seize. 

It all started with my entourage, I knew that Liverpool was interested in me. I was surprised, but after facing them twice in the Champions League and having had the opportunity to speak to Jurgen Klopp, I became more and more impatient to take up the challenge. 

“Having scored a goal at Anfield, that gave me some confidence. I told myself that we had to come and savour this atmosphere over time!”

Having made his bow for Liverpool on Merseyside, Minamino’s Premier League bow could arrive in another heavyweight encounter on Saturday when Klopp’s table-topping side take in a trip to Tottenham.

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