Liverpool forward must be more selfish in the final third
Liverpool crashed out of the FA Cup on Tuesday night with a 2-0 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. It was the Reds’ third loss in four matches in all competitions. Liverpool are suddenly out of form and haven’t scored in their three losses.
Tuesday night’s loss may have been disappointing for Liverpool and their supporters, but the club did have one bright spot throughout the 90-minute match.
Liverpool forward Takumi Minamino had his best match as an Anfielder and linked the team’s forwards and midfield well. Minamino played all 90 minutes of the FA Cup fifth-round match and was lively throughout. Although he faded in the second half, the rest of the team’s squad failed to pick out Minamino in the final third.
The buzz is all about Erling Haaland, but Takumi Minamino was just as good for Salzburg. Eagerly awaiting Klopp to unleash the Scouse Samurai for Liverpool pic.twitter.com/KyTpJV1af2
— Pundits Global (@PunditsGlobal) February 29, 2020
The biggest problem Minamino exhibited during the match was his unselfishness. Typically, this is a good thing but Minamino had opportunities to push into space, drive forward with the ball, and take on shots. However, the January transfer signing looked to pass immediately when he received the ball rather than driving forward or taking shots on when it would have been advantageous to do so.
Liverpool forward Takumi Minamino by the numbers
Minamino tallied 46 touches, an 82% pass success rate, one dribble, and two tackles, according to WhoScored.com. The Japanese international didn’t calculate a shot during the game, however.
The Liverpool new boy scored nine goals and added 11 assists for Red Bull Salzburg prior to joining the Reds. Compared to playing at Red Bull Salzburg, Minamino plays centrally for Liverpool rather than in a wide area as he did in Austria. Jurgen Klopp prefers to play Minamino in the middle of a front three ala Roberto Firmino. He is also not communicating in England, rather German with Klopp, Sadio Mane, and Naby Keita as he learns the language.
Klopp insists on playing Divock Origi wide left and Minamino through the middle. Having seen the two players succeed playing in reverse roles, it makes more sense for the manager to have Minamino on the left and Origi through the middle.
The Liverpool forward did play wide on the right side against Wolverhampton Wanderers after Mane went down with an injury during their match at Molineux. For now, that looks like Minamino’s only chance to play wide.
Minamino showed a lot of promise against Chelsea. He needs to be more selfish with the ball and to take shots on in the final third. He wanted to pass too early, too often on Tuesday night, but taking more shots on for the Reds could see him earn more opportunities in the team.