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Minamino’s “very special” role at Southampton as Liverpool hope for loan success

Takumi Minamino will get a gallop on his Southampton debut on Saturday with Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl backing him to be a perfect fit.

The on-loan Japanese international made a deadline day switch to St Mary’s after growing frustrated at his lack of game time at Liverpool.

Minamino goes straight into the squad at Newcastle with Hasenhuttl confident he will be as oven-ready to help injury-hit Saints as his last signing from Merseyside – the repatriation of Theo Walcott.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp gave Minamino’s loan move the green light with only hours to spare, a rare instance of a player moving from Anfield to the south coast instead of the well-beaten track in the opposite direction.

Hasenhuttl said: “I spoke with Jurgen. He said he didn’t have the chance to give Minamino enough time to play.

Liverpool forward Takumi Minamino has joined Southampton on loan until the end of the season

“I’m sure when he played, he did good games and scored a few goals.

“He’s a very special player for me – not because of his physical strength but more of his way of playing football.

“He is very quick in his mind, has good decision-making, knows about our pressing style and hopefully a lot of running.

“He knows when you come to me you have to run a lot, but that’s not a problem for him.

“Although he didn’t play a lot in the past games, he’ll also need time to step up – but we had a good experience with Theo, who helped us immediately, and hopefully he does the same.”

Jan Bednarek is available after his red card reprieve, following his controversial sending-off in the 9-0 midweek massacre at Old Trafford, but Alex Jankewitz – dismissed after just 70 seconds against Manchester United – is suspended.




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