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“The only thing he was lacking was a couple of games” – Klopp explains Minamino’s loan to Southampton

Signed last January from Salzburg, Minamino has since made 31 appearances for the Reds. However, there were just 12 of these starts, and only four of those starts were in the Premier League.
His last came in December at Crystal Palace when he scored his first goal in the Premier League, and Liverpool’s opener, in a 7-0 victory. He has been reduced to just six minutes in the league since then, even after the champions’ form falling significantly since Christmas.

Klopp explained the reasoning behind letting him out on loan, speaking to reporters on Tuesday.

“We really thought about it,” he said. “Takumi is an incredibly good player. We didn’t give him enough chances, that is the truth.

“Sometimes for different reasons. Sometimes it was just the size when defending set-pieces, because we were not tall enough. These kind of things make the difference why one player plays and another does not.

“There were not a lot of clubs where I thought it made a lot of sense but Southampton is one. He is there for 17 games. If he stays fit I think there is a good chance for him to play all 17 games which helps everybody.

“The only thing he was lacking was a couple of games in a row. That is difficult here. I would have loved to keep him just to have the option, but in the end Takumi is a long-term project, he always was. We see a lot of potential in him and so it absolutely makes sense he gets out and hopefully plays 17 games, then comes back in a different mindset and confidence level. I hope it is a win-win situation.”

Minamino could make his debut against Manchester United on Tuesday evening having completed the necessary paperwork in time.

“He just has to enjoy football again there,” Klopp added. “He is an outstanding professional, top talent, really good player.

“But the problem is we have a really good squad. My job is to make decisions based on what I imagine could be the outcome in the game. The people fighting for a place with him were in a really good shape, Shaqiri when he came back was in really good shape and we all know what Divock did in the past.

“Sometimes, as I said before, just the size can make a difference. It didn’t often work out that Taki could play or come on, and that’s 100 per cent my fault as well. But we both think now, Taki and I, that we can sort that by playing him 17 times in the Premier League.

“He doesn’t have to change anything or improve anything, he just has to play football, gain confidence and rhythm, and he will be fine.”

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