July 30, 2021

Minamino didn’t feel deserving of Premier League medal & wants to prove worth at Liverpool

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The Japan international moved to Anfield midway through the 2019-20 campaign and ended a disrupted season with a title party

Takumi Minamino admits to feeling undeserving of the Premier League winners’ medal he claimed with Liverpool in 2019-20, with the Japan international still looking to prove his worth.

A £7.25 million ($10m) transfer took the versatile 26-year-old to Anfield during the January window of 2020.

He took in 10 appearances from that point, with a title party staged on Merseyside for the first time in 30 years.

Minamino did play some part in that success, but admits to feeling uneasy at picking up a prize that others contributed significantly more to.

He told Liverpool’s official matchday programme: “It isn’t very easy to describe my feelings.

“Of course I was happy but at the same time I only played for the team for half the season and I was quite doubtful I had contributed to the team 100 per cent.

“When I lifted the trophy I was feeling proud but at the same time I thought that I needed to play well throughout a whole season and my aim is to hopefully do that and help the team to lift the trophy again this season.”

Minamino has been eased into English football by Jurgen Klopp, with Liverpool boasting enough strength in depth that new recruits do not need to be thrown in at the deep end.

Having been with the Reds for 12 months now, the hard-working forward believes he is ready to show his true colours.

Minamino, with 16 appearances and four goals to his name this season, added: “I am used to living in the UK now and I have been studying the language as well, although it has been a bit difficult because of the Covid situation.

“I have made very good friends with all the players in the team but I often speak with the players who speak German such as Xherdan Shaqiri, Naby Keita, Sadio Mane and Joel Matip – I have a lot of communication with them.”

Liverpool are confident that value will be found in a cut-price deal done with Red Bull Salzburg, with Minamino looking to emulate and better the efforts of fellow countrymen in the Premier League.

He said: “I was inspired by Shinji Kagawa, who played at Manchester United. The reason for that is that I used to play for a team in Japan that Kagawa used to play for, Cerezo Osaka.

“So we were at the same club and while I was in Japan I watched him playing for United and I also imagined myself playing in the Premier League as well.”

Minamino will be hoping his next outing comes against the Red Devils, with the defending Premier League champions preparing to play host to arch-rivals on Sunday.