Paul Tomkins, Andrew Beasley, Daniel Rhodes, Chris Rowland and other TTT regulars will give their thoughts for 24 hours after the game, and we’ll have all the post-match stats too.
A weird tweet I received after the Arsenal game, framed as if I am the official Taki Minamino fanclub, was:
“Will you finally admit that Minamino is just not good enough and needs to be replaced”
This type of “will you finally admit?” is often from weird people – put to you as if you are going around saying that the world is flat. In this instance, it’s especially odd as “good enough” depends on “good enough for what?”
Is Minamino good enough to be a first choice? Of course not. But he’s arguably 5th or 6th choice at Liverpool (having cost £8m), for which he seems more than good enough. Not every player is bought to be a superstar. (Indeed, he may even be 7th choice if you include Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who also scored today before, after a rare season for him with few injuries, he turned his ankle. And had Harvey Elliott not had his ankle dislocated, Minamino may have been 8th choice.)
This season the Japanese international has played 662 minutes, and scored six goals. That’s very healthy. Divock Origi, whose chance to shine this January has been hampered by an untimely injury, has played just 393 minutes and scored five goals. Just over 1,000 minutes combined, for 11 goals.
These are excellent figures for fringe players: roughly one goal each per full match of minutes, albeit made up of some substitute minutes with games largely won. That said, Minamino’s today was vital to kill the game (2-0 to 3-0 is important, as it removes the fear of the 2-1; 3-0 to 4-0 is more of a case of cake-icing); and Origi is someone who often adds really meaningful goals.
And given that Liverpool have four excellent first choices to fit into just three spots, what’s the problem?
One issue with Minamino is that, while not slow, he lacks the kind of pace that Liverpool usually rely on, and in a slower team (without Mo Salah, Sadio Mané and Origi), he maybe looks a bit too one-paced. But how many clubs’ 5th and 6th choice strikers are averaging a goal every 90 minutes or so?
And for all the talk of Liverpool needing to buy to cover for the AFCON, it could just be two league games that the absent trio miss, and the first of those has been won 3-0. Spend big on cover for two games and that player could be injured for those tow games.
(Plus, the guy moaning about Minamino not being good enough in the League Cup semi-final, after one glaring miss, ignored that his goals got the Reds to the semis in the first place. More on his finishing abilities follow below from the rest of the TTT crew, after the second half of my contribution.
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