Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has given his backing to Reds winger Takumi Minamino, believing that the Japan international “can add something” to the team in the coming months.
The 25-year-old came to Anfield in January but has had little opportunity to make his mark in Jurgen Klopp’s side, having struggled to get into the team in his first few weeks at the club before the coronavirus pandemic caused football to shut down since mid-March.
However, Carragher is confident that Minamino will come good on Merseyside and feels that he could be an in-situ replacement for Adam Lallana and Xherdan Shaqiri, both of whom have been tipped to move on from the club this summer.
The ex-Reds defender told the Liverpool Echo: “We haven’t seen enough of Takumi Minamino yet, who I think can add something. But I think he’ll be more a replacement for Adam Lallana or Xherdan Shaqiri.”
As Carragher has indicated, Minamino has yet to truly get a chance to prove his worth at Liverpool, having made only four substitute appearances across the Premier League and Champions League and handed just three starts, all in the FA Cup (as per TransferMarkt). He hasn’t contributed to a goal in that time but, during a 57-minute appearance against Wolves in January, he recorded a 96.4% passing success rate, misplacing just one of his 28 passes at Molineux that night (as per WhoScored) – hinting that he can be very composed in possession.
Perhaps a truer indication of the winger’s potential can be derived from the form he showed at Red Bull Salzburg prior to his switch to England. In 22 appearances for the Austrian club during the first half of the season, he scored nine goals and set up another 11, which shows that he can be a very prolific presence. His six Champions League outings for Salzburg yielded two goals and three assists, with one of each in their 4-3 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield, so any accusations about him being a mere flat-track bully in the Austrian league do not stand up. [via TransferMarkt]
Carragher is not being disingenuous when he says that Minamino will be a replacement for Lallana and Shaqiri, neither of whom have featured prominently throughout the season. For all the good form that the 25-year-old has shown in recent months, he is competing with Sadio Mane for the left winger position. The Senegal forward has been a consistently reliable scorer for four years at Liverpool, so Minamino is not going to displace him easily.
However, he could be a very trustworthy alternative to call upon either off the bench or to start in place of Mane should the situation require. With time and experience, Minamino looks capable of becoming a player who, as Carragher has said, can “add something” to Liverpool – remember, it took several years as as a Reds player for Divock Origi (and two loan spells) before he made his legendary contributions against Barcelona and Tottenham in the Champions League last season.
Do you share Carragher’s view that Minamino “can add something” to Liverpool in the next few months? Have your say by commenting below!