Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders insists Takumi Minamino has a future at the club.
The Japan international moved to Anfield in January 2020 but has yet to establish himself as a prominent first-team figure.
Minamino has started only four Premier League matches for the Reds and spent part of last term on loan at Southampton (opens in new tab).
However, Lijnders insists the attacking midfielder is not surplus to requirements at Liverpool (opens in new tab).
"Taki had a really good pre-season and I think it was really important for him after going to Southampton, which was a good decision at that time," he told the club's official website (opens in new tab).
"He came back and had a complete, full pre-season with us training-wise. He made an impact in pre-season, we were really enthusiastic about him. Then he had a small issue, with the national team, but he’s back now.
"He was not 100 per cent fit because he came back early, but now he is good to go and we are really happy that he’s part of our team.
"Jurgen [Klopp] said, ‘Wow, the amount of times Taki comes one-v-one against the goalkeeper.’ I said, ‘Yeah, it shows you don’t need super, super speed to come one-v-one with the goalkeeper.’ He is a very natural, intelligent mover.
"That’s what we need; we needed it already in the last games. He has this good timing to move in behind, good combination play when the players are close to him.
"He only can become better. That’s what we like, that’s why we brought him in at that time – because we saw the potential, not the end product."
It is still not entirely clear whether Klopp views Minamino as an option for the front three or the midfield three.
The Japanese will hope for more opportunities in the coming months, but it is hard to see him breaking into the starting XI for the time being.
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