‘Jurgen Klopp came to see me after the first training session and said: “Don’t worry about who you are playing with now”‘: Takumi Minamino admits he was ‘surprised’ that ‘best club on the planet’ Liverpool wanted to sign him
- Japan star Takumi Minamino signed for Liverpool from RB Salzburg on January 1
- The midfielder has admitted he did not expect the Reds to be interested in him
- Minamino made his bow in the FA Cup and has discussed his first days at Anfield
- Jurgen Klopp paid £7.25m for Minamino and has told his recruit to enjoy himself
Takumi Minamino has confessed that he was ‘surprised’ when he discovered that Liverpool wanted to sign him from Red Bull Salzburg and revealed Jurgen Klopp’s advice to him after his first training session with the Premier League leaders.
The Japan midfielder moved to Anfield for £7.25million on January 1 and made his debut when he started in the 1-0 home win in the Merseyside derby against Everton in the FA Cup on Sunday.
Minamino is being gradually integrated into the Reds’ first team as he adapts to the differences between the Premier League and the Austrian Football Bundesliga and looks to recreate the kind of form that saw him score against Liverpool for his former club in the Champions League.
New signing Takumi Minamino has enjoyed life at Liverpool since making the switch to Anfield
The Japan star made a 70-minute debut as the Reds hosted Everton in the FA Cup third round
Minamino says he has felt love from his team-mates as he adapts to the Premier League squad
Speaking about the initial move that led to Liverpool activating his release clause in December, Minamino told France Football: ‘I knew that Liverpool were interested in me.
‘I was surprised but having faced them twice in the Champions’ League and having had the opportunity to speak with Jurgen Klopp, I became more and more excited to take this challenge on.
‘The fact that I scored a goal at Anfield gave me a certain level of confidence. I said to myself that I want to savour this atmosphere more often.
‘I received an offer from what is currently the best club on the planet – that means a lot to me. I felt that I was very fortunate, a wonderful opportunity that I really wanted to take.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has urged Minamino to be himself and enjoy playing for Liverpool
Fleet-footed technician Minamino scored 64 goals in 199 appearances during his five years at Red Bull, winning five league titles and four Austrian Cup winner’s medals.
Speaking about his first ten days as a Liverpool player, he said: ‘Only a few days have passed since I arrived but I already feel like I have been playing here for several months. It is all the love that I have received from the manager, the staff and my team-mates.
‘Liverpool gives you a phenomenal environment in which to focus on football. I remember that Jurgen Klopp came to see me after the first training session and said to me: “Don’t worry about who you are playing with now, play in the same way as you did at Salzburg, play the Minamino way. Enjoy yourself.”‘
The 24-year-old praised the philosophies held by former boss Jesse Marsch and Klopp and described his own style as being ‘active between the lines’, adding: ‘What the two styles have in common is a strong desire to go forward and to have the courage to do that.
‘I want to give the team everything that I can and push by my own limits.’