The Liverpool players, having been terrorized in the Champions League, pleaded with Jurgen Klopp to sign them.

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Now, two years ago, Takumi Minamino moved from Liverpool to Monaco.
Today, two years ago, Takumi Minamino departed Liverpool having won three winners’ medals and 14 goals.

In addition, he departed after being called a “manager’s dream” by manager Jurgen Klopp. A £15.5 million transfer to Monaco was finalized, meaning the Reds had more than doubled their investment on a player they had signed for just £7 million in January 2020.

Although the fan base and Klopp’s playing team were quite excited about the transfer, in retrospect it was clear that it was a bad move.

Minamino’s time at Anfield was never pleasant, and there was always a reason why his career at Liverpool didn’t take off. He essentially had to play catch-up from the beginning, having joined Klopp’s club midway through their championship-winning campaign and having his bedding-in period interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak as he attempted to assimilate to a new culture.

As a result, he was denied his first complete preseason, and he discovered that the unbeatable combination of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah was ranked ahead of him. He was on a hiding to nothing, so he wouldn’t be the first player to fail to break up this trifecta.

With Diogo Jota added to the mix in the summer of 2021, Luis Diaz arriving eighteen months later, and Divock Origi still producing the occasional game-winning play, Minamino didn’t really take off in his bit-part role until after his half-season loan with Southampton, which gave Kopites a real look at the player their team had signed.

Since he only made one Premier League start in 2021/22, his game time would stay restricted. Even so, Minamino scored 10 goals in 24 games during the season, leading Liverpool to victory in both the FA Cup and League Cup as they attempted to achieve an unprecedented quadruple but were only able to secure a domestic double.

His early League Cup goals against Norwich City, Preston North End, and Leicester City earned him a benching in favor of teenaged Kaide Gordon for the semi-final second-leg against Arsenal, and he was not played for the final against Chelsea. This was his recompense for playing a pivotal role in the Reds’ runs to Wembley. After being relegated to substitute duty in the FA Cup quarterfinal against Nottingham Forest, his reward for an FA Cup brace against the Canaries was to be left out of the matchday squad for the semi-final and final.

Even though Minamino would eventually acquire both trophies, the writing was unavoidably on the wall for his future, therefore it was not shocking when he left.

Minamino spent two and a half years on Merseyside, so it would be simple to write him off as a low-risk transfer bet that didn’t work out on the field but made money anyway. After all, a meager release clause made his entrance seem like an opportunity. Liverpool fought off interest from teams like Manchester United and signed the versatile forward for just £7.25 million, claiming that he would have brought in at least £25 million had he not had an escape clause.

However, in response to Minamino’s exit, Klopp was not having any of it and waxed poetic about the player Monaco was acquiring. “While it’s difficult to see Taki go, this is a fantastic move for him that he fully deserves,” The Reds manager said on the team’s website. An excellent professional and really gifted player. He is a pleasant, friendly person who uplifts everyone around him. Really, a manager’s dream.

There will undoubtedly be people who feel that it didn’t quite work out. People who believe this are mistaken. I disagree with that. His value is significantly greater than the starting match opportunities that we were able to provide.

Not only did he improve us in the games he participated in, but also in every single training session that he spent with us. Perfect disposition, victor’s mindset. We have frequently had to remodel the Champions Wall due to his goals and performances. His accomplishments here will endure the test of time.”

The two performances that Minamino would remember most for the club were his game-winning brace against Norwich in what would turn out to be his final Anfield appearance in the FA Cup fifth round, and his last-gasp equalizer in the 3-3 comeback draw against Leicester in the League Cup quarterfinals. Meanwhile, in his final Reds game, he provided the traveling supporters with the ideal sendoff by scoring at St Mary’s against his old team, Southampton.

By doing this, he becomes one of the following players: Dominic Solanke, who most recently played before Minamino, Nicholas Anelka, Mamadou Sakho, Suso, Jordon Ibe, Michael Owen, Daniel Agger, Vladimir Smicer, Peter Crouch, Djibril Cisse, and Nicholas Anelka.

However, the unfortunate reality is that his finest performance at Anfield occurred against Liverpool while he was still under Salzburg’s contract. While all eyes were on Erling Haaland from the outside, the Japanese player scored and provided an assist in a thrilling seven-goal match that saw the Reds triumph 4-3. Following their match against Minamino, his soon-to-be teammates were won over.

After their two matches against the Austrian team, top Liverpool players encouraged Klopp to sign the man who had been terrorizing them all along. They had no idea that a deal had already been made long in advance.

Since 2013, while he was playing for Cerezo Osaka, Minamino has been under close observation. Klopp, who was then in charge of Borussia Dortmund, had also taken notice of Minamino. The sporting director Michael Edwards was a driving element behind the start of talks in November 2019, with the Reds’ coaching and recruitment staff all eager to get him on board.

Liverpool learned about Minamino’s release clause after developing a good rapport with Christoph Freund, Salzburg’s director of football. They acted quickly to outpace United and seal the deal, much to the delight of the supporters at the time.

Regretfully, Minamino found that those expectations were unreasonable given the situation. It’s now too late for him, at the very least, since the Premier League is using five substitutes.

Perhaps his Reds narrative would not have ended if he had found a midway ground between Salzburg and Anfield, as both Mane and Naby Keita did. It was the correct transfer at the wrong time. Rather than leave the field with Mane, he might have become a forward to replace him.

However, Liverpool took a chance after spotting an opening. After three years, it brought them two trophies and made them as much as £8.25 million. With two winners’ medals dangling around his neck and a pit in his gut, Minamino left. But he could walk out of Liverpool with his head held high; he was only a victim of events.

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