Minamino breakthrough Klopp hails attacking midfielder
Jurgen Klopp has said Takumi Minamino can be a “real player” for Liverpool this season after the Japan international’s first goal for the club in Saturday’s Community Shield.
Minamino has impressed in pre-season after struggling to make an impact last season, following his move from Red Bull Salzburg in January.
“It was big for him and for us,” said Klopp. “The only thing he lacked since he was with us is that he didn’t score a goal. He was close in plenty of moments, but the shape he’s in is good and everyone could see that when he came on.”
Meanwhile, Klopp has expressed his support for teams being allowed to make five substitutions in the Premier League next season. “For the sake of the football players and the performance levels, I think it would make sense,” said Klopp.
The club captain, whose new contract is expected to be announced imminently, rifled into the far corner after a fine passing move to give Arsenal the lead. It was the sort of goal that can only be scored by a player at the very top of his game.
The defenders and midfielders must know it is worth committing everything to the cause when it only takes a single moment for Aubameyang to put the ball in the net.
Arsenal’s fearlessness was perhaps best encapsulated by Reiss Nelson, one of this current crop of highly rated academy graduates. Nelson was the first to volunteer to take a penalty in the shoot-out after the game had finished 1-1. “He said ‘Me first’,” Arteta said.
Bukayo Saka, another youngster, had played a key role in Aubameyang’s goal by spraying a crossfield pass into the striker’s path. Arteta has hired two new coaches, Carlos Cuesta and Miguel Molina, to help oversee the development of these young players, and their progress could be crucial to the club’s future.
“I get more and more impressed with them every day,” Arteta said of a group that also includes Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah. “They want to be better than their teammates and really want chances.”
The only concern will be the lack of time on the training field, with less than two weeks until the new Premier League campaign begins.
Can Arteta drill home any new tactical information by then? It seems unlikely. What is certain, though, is that the club’s mentality is changing. This alone could be the difference between success and failure for Arsenal this season.
(3-4-3) Martinez 7; Holding 7, Luiz 7, Tierney 7 (Kolasinac 83); Bellerin 7 (Cedric 59), Xhaka 7, Elneny 7, Maitland-Niles 8; Saka 7 (Willock 82), Nketiah 7 (Nelson 82), Aubameyang 8. Leno (g), Saliba, Smith Rowe, John-Jules, Olayinka.
(4-3-3) Alisson 6; Williams 5 (Minamino 59), Gomez 6, Van Dijk 6, Robertson 6; Wijnaldum 6 (Brewster 90+2), Fabinho 6, Milner 5 (Keita 59); Salah 5, Firmino 6 (Jones 82), Mane 6. Adrian (g), Grujic, Tsimikas, Elliott, Koumetio. Milner.
Andre Marriner (West Midlands).
Matt Doherty has joined Tottenham on a four-year deal for a reported £15million. The Republic of Ireland right-back
Team spirit: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (with the trophy) leads the celebrations