Klopp hints at Liverpool future for Minamino as Southampton loanee remains an 'important player'

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Jurgen Klopp has assured Takumi Minamino that he remains part of the long-term thinking at Liverpool, with the Japan international considered to be an "important player" for the Reds.

The 26-year-old forward was deemed surplus to requirements on Merseyside over the winter, with a loan switch to Premier League rivals Southampton sanctioned.

Minamino has admitted that questions will have to be asked of his future at the end of the season, but Klopp says a versatile operator will be given every chance to prove his worth back at his parent club.

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What has been said?

Quizzed on Minamino ahead of Liverpool's clash with Southampton on Saturday, Klopp has told the Reds' official matchday programme: "He’s done really well there and this is no surprise.

"When we allowed him to go in January it was a tough call to make because he is an important player for us and will be again in the future, no doubt.

"But opportunities at that time had been short with us and therefore going to play somewhere else made sense for him and us.

"Southampton was perfect because of how Ralph plays and what he demands from his players."

The bigger picture

Minamino will be prevented from lining up against Liverpool due to the terms of his loan.

He has, however, taken in seven appearances for Southampton and recorded two goals.

Back at Liverpool, only four players have scored more goals than the four he has managed for the Reds and he has seen more minutes than Naby Keita, Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

That suggests that there is still a role for him under Klopp, with a contract through to 2024 committed to when moving to England from Red Bull Salzburg in January 2020.

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