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WE NEEDED MINAMINO’S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE EXPERIENCE – KLOPP

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says he was keen to sign Takumi Minamino because of his Champions League experience.

The Japan international is now a Red after the Premier League heavyweights triggered his release clause.

Minamino has cost just £7.25m from Austria outfit Red Bull Salzburg.

The attacking midfielder might have cost a comparatively modest fee, but he’s an experienced campaigner.

He was snapped up by Salzburg from Cerezo Osaka five years ago and has become a regular first-team player.

Since making his debut, he’s racked up just under 200 appearances for the club in all competitions and scored 63 goals for Salzburg.

Speaking after Minamino put pen to paper, Klopp revealed Minamino’s ability to impress in Europe’s elite competition was a big consideration.

“Takumi is a very quick, very clever player, he finds space between the lines,” he said.

“He is brave with the ball but also brave without the ball – a proper team player. He makes the best of himself for the benefit of others.

“His Champions League experience is a big bonus and coming from the club and organisation he does, we know he’ll be well coached, used to an elite environment and had all the right experiences.

“It is fantastic work by our football operations team in how they’ve handled this transfer. Michael Edwards and the team deserve a lot of credit.

“It’s not hard to see why Salzburg is a favoured destination for players with real talent and hunger.

“From our experiences dealing with, and facing, Salzburg on and off the pitch in recent months, their reputation as a benchmark modern European club will only grow.

“I’m sure all the Liverpool supporters will go out of their way to make Takumi feel at home in our amazing city and club.

“I am also pretty sure as of now we have added to our numbers of the LFC family in Japan specifically.

“For those who follow us now because we have one of the country’s most exciting talents, I say welcome – it’s a special club to be part of.”

Minamino, meanwhile, says playing in the Premier League has always been one of his great career ambitions.

“To play in the Premier League was one of my targets,” he explained.

“I think this is the top-class league in the world; I was thinking if my career as a footballer progressed smoothly, someday I would be able to play in the Premier League.

“But I never thought I would be able to play in this team and I’m really happy about it. I’m looking forward to it.”

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