Takumi Minamino admits his Liverpool debut was “one of the most intense matches I’ve played”, but believes he has much more to offer after being introduced into a Merseyside derby.
The Reds took in a meeting with neighbours Everton at Anfield on Sunday. Teenage midfielder Curtis Jones netted the match-winner for Jurgen Klopp’s side, allowing him to steal the headlines, but Minamino caught the eye in his first outing for a new club.
Liverpool snapped up the Japan international from Red Bull Salzburg for just £7.25 million ($10m), with his potential having been spotted in domestic and Champions League outings.
He is aware that English football will present plenty of challenges to him, but the 24-year-old is confident that he can tackle them head-on.
Minamino told reporters of his debut: “I’m happy that now I’m a part of this team, but from now on I need to show what I can do on the pitch.
“Personally I would’ve liked to score or assist. It was probably one of the most intense matches I’ve played, but I knew the Premier League would be like that so I wasn’t surprised.”
Liverpool’s high-pressing style, with Klopp demanding intensity from his side, is similar to that which Minamino experienced at Salzburg.
Quizzed on whether that will aid his transition, the energetic forward said: “The way we press aggressively, the way we press back, the way we use the space between lines are similar.
“But the system is not the same so I have to understand the difference and fit myself into this team.”
Minamino is now up and running at Liverpool, with any early nerves being eased, and he has also got a first taste of the famous Anfield atmosphere on derby day.
He said of that occasion: “Great, I think this is the best stadium for a footballer. “The fans were great and I’m just glad we won.”
Having been thrown in at the deep end against Everton, things are not about to get any easier for Minamino on Merseyside.
Liverpool’s next outing is set to see them take in a Premier League trip to Tottenham, before then playing host to old adversaries Manchester United on January 19.