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Liverpool forward Takumi Minamino admits he is channelling his frustration at not getting regular game time into improving his performances when he does get a chance.
The Japan international’s equaliser deep into stoppage time set up a penalty shoot-out win in their Carabao Cup quarter-final at home to Leicester.
Minamino has become something of a League Cup specialist, scoring six times across five matches in the competition over the last two seasons but has struggled to make an impact elsewhere, playing just 40 minutes in the Premier League.
𝗣𝗨𝗥𝗘. 𝗗𝗥𝗔𝗠𝗔. 😱
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 23, 2021
However, rather than sulk, the 26-year-old is trying to make the most of his opportunities.
“As a player I always want to play every match,” he said.
“I think a kind of frustration is common for the players (who don’t play) but I like to turn this frustration into positiveness with my attitude.
“I put in a lot of effort every day to play more and to get game time. I want to play more games and I want to prove to myself that I can do much better, so I use my frustration to turn everything positive.
“But I am at the best club in the world and I can spend the best time of my career at this club.
“As I have said before, I would like to contribute to this club as much as possible. That is the best thing I can do.”
Minamino added in Liverpool’s matchday programme: “I have been given more game time in the Carabao Cup, which is a great opportunity for me.
“It is a chance to show what I can do and to prove myself and I am happy that I could contribute to the team’s wins. I hope I can continue to do more of the same.
“The manager always tries to keep the players’ motivation higher. When I’m not playing in a match he always speaks to me and helps keep my motivation high.
“He is always very fair to every player so I quite admire his management skills.”
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp had some sympathy for the likes of Minamino, one of 10 changes for the cup tie, after a terribly disjointed first half before the introduction of more first-teamers after the break stabilised things.
“Top goal, top performance. When you change that much it is not 100 per cent fair as they have to play absolutely their ‘A’ game but he played a really good game,” he said.
“From a tactical point of view he was outstanding and it’s great for him to score that goal in the best possible moment.
“He deserved his goal for all the things he did (in the game) and all the things he did in the last few months.”