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‘An artist in his mind’ – Arsene Wenger on Takumi Minamino

Arsenal doyen Arsene Wenger artfully praised Takumi Minamino for his snazzy goal display on Saturday after the ex-RB Salzburg player did a feint, completely outsmarting the rival captain and goalkeeper and coolly slotted in Southampton’s only goal that earned them a draw against Tuchel’s squad.

Takumi Minamino snatched an impressive goal when he got onto a brilliant pass, ran in behind the Chelsea defence, gathered his composure, deceptively landed two defenders on their backsides with Messi-esque deceptive guile and flourish, and slotted home into an empty net with apparent ease.

It was all superbly executed by the 26-year old artful dodger who looked completely at ease with all the grace and skills of a natural goalscorer – something Liverpool haven’t really seen in a while.

All very encouraging, certainly, considering this was his second goal in only three starts for Southampton.

Minamino’s exploit impressed Arsene Wenger as the legendary former Gunners’ manager gave the 26-year-old a glowing appraisal on Bein Sports.

“What is very interesting for the striker’s to watch is the number of times Minamino lifts his head to see where the ‘keeper is,” said Wenger.

“I think you see twice, clearly, where he lifts his head and in a composure situation, he is composed despite the fact he’s under huge pressure.

“This guy is an artist in his mind.”

That essentially sums up in a nutshell the kind of player Liverpool had in mind when they signed him on from RB Salzburg back in January 2020, getting someone who had previously torn them apart in an earlier Champions League encounter that obviously impressed Jurgen Klopp.

The Japanese youngster barely featured with Liverpool, but when he did, he did appear a tad overawed, understandably.

Although thee’re still some ways to go with Southampton, Ralph Hasenhuttl has been suitably impressed with his potential, saying he’s ‘good on the ball’ but wants to see the lad acquire more defensive skills, which he’s sure will come in due time.

But the positive is that we’re already beginning to see glimpses of the impressive attacking work at Premier League level now that he’s given the opportunity to express himself.

It’s a brilliant new start on the south coast for the young Japanese striker.