After another night of big contributions from Takumi Minamino, he’s making himself the ideal squad player for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side…


A MAJOR theme this season has been the collective, with Jurgen Klopp utilising every member of the squad at his disposal to deal with the task at hand.

Everyone, both the starting stars and the fringe players waiting in the wings, have had their moments and made their opportunities count.

Last night we welcomed the League Cup winners and left wondering if there could soon be another trip to Wembley again. That we do is down to Klopp’s supporting cast.

Once again it is a game where the manager rings the changes, with Jordan Henderson the sole survivor, and once again, it is a game Liverpool win. A first FA Cup quarter final since 2015 to look forward to, and yet more trophies still to be won.

It was another night in a season full of them where Liverpool silenced their doubters. For a team deemed to not have enough strength in depth, they’ll sure as hell do for you and me.

One player who has embodied that ethos more than most in recent weeks and months is Takumi Minamino.

His start to life on Merseyside wasn’t easy and there have been times he has struggled to impose himself on games during his Liverpool career, but fast forward to the present and a player who arrived with undoubted promise is now showing exactly why he was so sought after.

Liverpool's Takumi Minamino (2nf from L) celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Cup 5th Round match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield

He is never a regular starter, but one with a catalogue of contributions this season. Just look at last night.

Truth be told, Liverpool were far from their best, but every ounce of promise came from him. He was first to every ball, relentless in the press and caused havoc with his movement.

A really gifted footballer firing us in front with an instinctive strike to mark the 750th goal of the Klopp era before hammering home a volley any striker would be proud of. Lively, hungry and brimming with confidence. He was everything you want and more.

Klopp hailed it as his best performance for the club and it’s hard to disagree. It was a night of real composure from Minamino, who has continually stepped up when called upon this season. The man with the silkiest hair on Merseyside is more than up for the cups, isn’t he?

Most players in his situation would have pushed for a move at this stage and yet Taki has rarely sulked. That both Klopp and James Milner have hailed his attitude and application in training is testament to his mentality. He is somebody who knows he isn’t going to be in the starting 11 every week, but one who has made his minutes count and become a real asset to this side. He remains utterly committed and priceless to the cause.

He now has nine goals and has registered one assist in 891 minutes of football this term. Only Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah now have more.

Arguably Liverpool’s seventh choice forward and yet still contributing significantly, the fact that Minamino is able to make a difference is precisely what Liverpool and Klopp need and, should he continue to do so, it could make a world of difference come May. A player focused on keeping his head down and contributing to the greater cause, he is the kind of player every team needs.

Liverpool's Takumi Minamino scores the first goal during the FA Cup 5th Round match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield

He is doing everything you could possibly ask of him, and his teammates urging fans to salute him in the celebrations on Sunday was a testament to how significant his contributions have been and how settled he has become as a member of this side.

Game by game, week by week, the criticisms about Liverpool’s squad depth have fallen away. If this season has taught us anything it’s about the significance of the wider squad and its ability to cope with the workload.

Caoimhin Kelleher was the hero at Wembley on Sunday and Takumi Minamino took on the mantle here. Neither are players who frequently feature in the starting 11, but both have made key contributions in the last week alone. That they have done so reinforces the strength in depth at Klopp’s disposal.

Liverpool not only have one of the best starting 11s in the world, but a squad as good as any. It is a side undoubtedly going places, one who will be hungry for more after Wembley on Sunday and one that is more than capable of fighting on all fronts. Klopp may not be entertaining any talk of a quadruple, but with the supporting cast all on song, there’s plenty of reason to be excited.

Now to go again for another big week. All eyes on West Ham before an Anfield welcome for Inter on Tuesday. The games keep coming, and the pressure never ceases.

Buckle up Reds, there’s more trophies to be won.

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