Takumi Minamino joined Liverpool in January of 2020 and had a tough time of breaking into the first team in his first season. Takiumi got more opportunities in his second season, getting a few cup goals and one league goal for Liverpool in the first half of the season; this however, was not enough to finish the campaign with the Reds. A year on from the Japanese international’s arrival, Takumi was sent out on loan to Southampton.
On paper, the loan seemed like a great idea for all parties as it gave Minamino the chance to blossom in a system he once shone in. Ralph Hasenhüttl, the Saints manager, deploys a tactical system similar to the one Takumi Minamino was familiar with during his RB Salzburg days which is where he enjoyed his best footballing form. With this in mind, let’s have a look at how the loan deal has worked out thus far.
Minamino’s life on the South coast started well, getting two goals in his first three games; this included becoming the first player to score against Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side. Minamino's form was in part due to linking up well with former Liverpool man Danny Ings on the attacking front. However, Ings got injured during Minamino’s fourth start for the club which put a dent in the form of both Southampton and the loanee.
To add to the dismay of the Saints, Minamino was added to the injury list whilst away on international duty. Takumi played six matches before being on injury hiatus with his two goals being his only contribution to the goal tally.
Despite the lack of goals, Minamino’s contribution to how the team plays has clearly impressed Hasenhüttl. The Austrian manager has indicated he has been impressed with Minamino's efforts on the pitch and it has been suggested that there is interest to make this deal permanent.
Takumi Minamino made his return to the Southampton side last weekend in the 1-1 draw with Leicester. Of course, the hardworking playmaker cannot play against his parent club, Liverpool, but how he performs for the remainder of the season could decide Minamino’s future.