Liverpool have been handed a major boost regarding the fitness of Takumi Minamino ahead of their upcoming Champions League fixture.
According to a report by This Is Anfield, the Liverpool winger was back in first-team training with Jurgen Klopp’s side following his recovery from a minor fitness complaint – which caused the 26-year-old to withdraw from international duty with Japan early and ruled him out of the club’s victory over Leeds United on Sunday.
While Minamino is by no means a guaranteed starter in the Liverpool side, having featured from the off just 12 times in his career at Anfield to date, the return of the forward ahead of the Reds’ tantalising fixture against Milan will undoubtedly have Klopp buzzing.
Indeed, while the trio of Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah appear the most likely options to start for Liverpool on Wednesday evening, Minamino’s presence on the bench will provide the German manager with a different route when making substitutions in the latter stages of the fixture, in comparison to the victory at Leeds.
In the game at Elland Road, the 54-year-old had no other choice but to introduce Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Jota in the closing stages of the match, playing the midfielder in the middle of a front three.
And, while this did not cause any problems with his side 2-0 up against 10 men, should the Reds be pushing for a late goal against the Serie A side on Wednesday, the option of adding Minamino to their attack would certainly appear to be a much-preferred move than once again bringing Oxlade-Chamberlain on.
With Divock Origi seemingly out of the picture, it’s a major boost for Klopp to have a natural attacking player available to him from the bench this evening.