Takumi Minamino hasn’t enjoyed the start to his Liverpool career that he will have hoped.
The Japanese forward was a surprise signing when he moved to Anfield just over a year ago for the modest sum of £7.25million.
Having impressed for Red Bull Salzburg in both home and away ties against Liverpool in the Champions League group stages, his arrival was welcomed by Reds supporters.
Jurgen Klopp hailed Minamino as a “wonderful signing” at the time, as well as praising his “qualities”.
But after limited chances to impress, he has now been shipped off to Southampton on loan, though Klopp insists Minamino is still part of his plans.
Speaking at his press conference on Tuesday, Klopp said: “Takumi is an incredible player and we didn’t give him enough chances, that’s the truth.
“Southampton makes a lot of sense. He’s there for 17 games. If he stays fit there’s a good chance he will play 17 games. That helps them, it helps us.
“Takumi was always a long-term project and he still is. I hope it’s a win-win situation.”
Certainly a spell on loan could prove useful to Minamino, who has looked somewhat out of sorts in English football in his bit-part role at Liverpool.
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It’s been an extremely interesting start to the season for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
They got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds, before going on to conceded seven in a hammering by Aston Villa.
Virgil van Dijk’s season was ended by injury in the 2-2 draw at Everton, leaving the title favourites looking far less secure at the back – especially with Alisson’s injury worries too.
But there’s no slowing down in what is going to be a busy campaign – with Klopp ensuring his men continue at full pace as they bid for more title glory.
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He has racked up 29 appearances, though only 12 of those have come as a starter, six of which have been in the domestic cups.
A move to Southampton will offer him a fresh opportunity to gain experience in the Premier League and aid their push for a spot in Europe.
Minamino could be a superb addition to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s squad if he can recapture the form that earned him a move to Anfield in the first place.
And the fact that Liverpool rejected Southampton’s suggestion to include an option-to-buy clause in the loan contract tells you Klopp is keen to have more time with Minamino.
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But former Saints manager Harry Redknapp believes the deal indicates that Klopp has already made his mind up on the 26-year-old.
“Well, he’s not done it at Liverpool, has he?” Redknapp told Sky Sports . “If Liverpool fancied him they wouldn’t have let him go.
“They wouldn’t be letting players go out on loan if they weren’t any use to the squad.
“If he [Klopp] felt that he was of any use then he would have kept him there. But his form hasn’t been good and he hasn’t looked good enough, to be fair, at the moment.”