January 04, 2020
The likelihood is that Liverpool’s latest signing – Japan’s 24-year-old former Red Bull Salzburg forward – will prove too good and too ambitious for utility-man status
Takumi Minamino set to show Jürgen Klopp he is more than a handyman
It was no ordinary afternoon’s browsing for anybody passing through Osaka’s Komagawa shopping street on 13 January 2014. The main thoroughfare had come to a standstill and on one side a long stretch of punters stood with arms reaching out in preparation to meet a special guest. Soon enough Takumi Minamino, wearing his full Cerezo Osaka get-up and pursued at close quarters by an anxious‑looking man wielding a clipboard, advanced past each one, slapping their hands in the process. He stopped just short of the end as a loud buzzer went off and eventually his feat was confirmed: Minamino had broken the Guinness world record for high-fives given in one minute, his total of 187 beating the previous tally by 16. The framed certificate he received shortly afterwards was, at that point, one of the more notable garlands afforded to a footballer who had not yet played 50 first-team games.
If nothing else the achievement showcased Minamino’s fast reactions and, on Sunday afternoon, Anfield should have a chance to appreciate them in the world champions’ colours for the first time. The former Red Bull Salzburg forward is likely to make his debut against Everton and events have certainly moved quickly since, three months ago, he moved Jürgen Klopp into what might have been a knowing grimace when executing a superb volley at his future home. Liverpool had been on Minamino’s case since well before then but it does him no harm that, in both Champions League group stage fixtures, a persuasive argument could be made that he was the best player on the pitch.
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