Like a new signing: £9m-rated midfield maestro feels like a fresh face at Liverpool – opinion

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While pre-season has not gone the way that perhaps Jurgen Klopp would have liked, there have been plenty of positives to take as we prepare for our first Premier League title defence.

Our youngsters Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott are two examples of this. Both of which produced fine performances in all of the games so far. I initially thought that it would be a big step up for both of them but they have made their time in the first team look easy.

However, these are not the only two players that have impressed during our trio of friendly games.

Since arriving in January for £7.25m from Red Bull Salzburg, Takumi Minamino has found it difficult to get settled into the way that Klopp wants him to in his system.

But over the summer, I have seen the Japan international bloom into the sort of player that we saw play against us in the Champions League last year, scoring for Salzburg during our 4-3 win against them.

The shy, timid midfielder has, all of a sudden, evolved into an agile, fluid and tactical maestro that the boss can rely on for the upcoming campaign.

Dare I say it, he almost feels like a new signing this summer. Something refreshing. A man that could make the difference during games that we cannot break the opposition down. If he manages to break into the first team, then great. If not, Klopp could make the most of his ability.

His goal against Arsenal in the Community Shield is an example of what we can expect as fans. A quick first-time shot that found the back of the net in what was a crucial part of the game. For me, he is ahead of Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi in our attacking options.

I just hope that he can take this form into the new season. His attitude so far has been first-class for us. The £9m-rated ace acknowledged that he did not start well and looks like he is beginning to come out of his shell.

After winning the Premier League last season, Minamino looks hungry for more success.

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