With Liverpool FC currently suffering a midseason slump on the pitch, the question of why Takumi Minamino's loan move has been brought to the surface again by fans.
Struggling to score goals has been one of the major talking points during a tough few months for the Reds. Liverpool have seen their front-three fail to record goals at an astounding rate, and the results show it as they've lost four consecutive at home and outscored 8-1 during that spell.
Tack on an injury crisis that has ravaged through the ranks at the club, and questions start swirling as to past decisions made by Jurgen Klopp and the back-room staff.
In the 11th hour of the winter transfer window, Liverpool shipped Minamino to Southampton. Seen as a good move at the time for everyone involved, now seems to be paying off rather favourably for Liverpool, despite their attacking woes.
In three appearances for the Saints, Minamino has hit the ground running (literally), scoring a pair of goals in emphatic fashion against Newcastle and Chelsea.
With a consistent run of games, Liverpool fans are finally able to see exactly the type of player the team purchased in January 2020 from RB Salzburg.
With the form, he is in and the productivity in his performances, the loan deal seems to be working perfectly for Minamino, Southampton, and surprisingly... the champions.
Everyone is in agreement that Minamino needed a steady run of games. In his brief time at Anfield, Minamino seemed to struggle early on, but seemed to have adjusted by the time the 2020/21 season rolled around.
A goal against Arsenal in the Community Shield (Yes, it is a friendly, but still...) seemed to get the Monkey off Minamino's back and he was able to play freely within Klopp's system.
Fast forward to December 19th of this past year. Liverpool sit atop the table and thrash Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park 7-0, with Minamino getting the opener in what seemed like a free-flowing attack for the Reds that was starting to really hit its stride.
After that fantastic display, the Japan international saw just six minutes in the remaining seven games before being loaned out.
The lack of game-time was noticeable among supporters, and rightly so. Questions were being asked, for example, "Why him, and not Origi?". Viable questions considering the form the Belgian has been in.
Now on loan and getting regular minutes alongside former Liverpool striker Danny Ings, Minamino is shining, and that benefits Liverpool in so many ways.
First, the obvious one. the Reds finally get to see Minamino play in the Premier League and he isn't stuck in a somewhat loaded group of attackers thus lacking minutes.
Secondly, confidence. Let's face it, he didn't seem confident at times on the pitch. It's as though he was often more concerned about where he was supposed to be positioned on the pitch more than actually letting the game come to him and just playing football.
With Hassenhuttel's system rather similar to the one used by Klopp, there shouldn't be a considerable amount of transition, and it has clearly shown early on.
Lastly, this benefits Liverpool in many ways. Not only do they get the chance to see Minamino in action more often against Premier League sides, but the loan could result in an eventual profit should the 26-year-old actually be on the market after his time ends with the Saints.
How often do we see Michael Edwards get a player for a nominal fee and turn it around in a few years for £20 million+. Minamino could be the next player on that list.
With COVID-19 having the effect it has had on clubs the last year, if Liverpool can profit off of the loan spell, they should jump at the opportunity.
Does Liverpool miss Minamino in the side? That's debatable. Given that he wasn't seeing the pitch, the loan makes sense. With the former Salzburg attackers performances while at Saints, the loan is working perfectly.