Takumi Minamino has revealed that former Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa helped to convince him to move to Liverpool.
Minamino was snapped up for a potentially bargain fee of £7.25 million ($9.5m) in the January transfer window, with the 25-year-old having caught the Anfield side's eye when turning out against them for Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League.
Kagawa registered just six goals and eight Premier League assists during his two seasons with the Reds' most bitter rivals, but the 30-year-old had no issues with his fellow Japan international making a move to Merseyside.
Having played under Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, Kagawa described the German as one of the “best coaches in the world”.
“I spoke to Maya Yoshida at Southampton but I didn't ask him about Liverpool,” Minamino said in an interview for the Reds' official programme. “I just told him that I would be coming to the Premier League, though, I never told him it would be Liverpool!
“I also spoke to Shinji Kagawa as he had played for Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund, too. Klopp talked to me about Shinji and Shinji talked about Klopp and from that I could sense that they had a really good relationship.
“Shinji said that Klopp was one of the best coaches in the world and now that I am here and working for him I have also realised that he is one of the best coaches around.”
Indeed, Kagawa was effusive in his praise for Minamino after securing a move to Anfield, taking to Twitter after the transfer was finalised and stating: “Congratulations! You are starting the best challenge! Believe in yourself and do your best under the best manager in the world!”
Minamino is currently being eased into Klopp's first-team plans, taking in only four appearances for the Premier League champions elect to date.
And, although the attacker is yet to register a goal or an assist for his new side, big things are expected of a player who Klopp told to “play in any way I want to play”.
Minamino may well get a chance to express himself and open his account for the Reds when they take on Chelsea in the FA Cup on Tuesday.