Takumi Minamino got on the scoresheet as Japan beat Saudi Arabia 2-0 in a World Cup qualifying match. He continued with his impressive international scoring record and has now netted 17 goals in just 37 matches.
The Liverpool player scored the first goal in the match that set Japan on their way to victory. They duly doubled their lead five minutes after the break when Junya Ito scored a spectacular goal.
The win has taken Japan all the closer to World Cup qualification. This result means that they have won both their matches during the current international window. Their next match is in March when they play Australia, which has turned into a final. A victory in this match will book their ticket to Qatar.
The performance of Minamino showed lots of courage as he blocked out all the news surrounding his possible move away from Liverpool. There has been mounting speculation that Minamino could be leaving Liverpool to join a host of possible teams. The teams that seem most interested are Leeds United and Monaco.
The story coming out of Merseyside is that the player himself has rejected the offers and instead said that he wants to stay and fight for his place. The Japan international has been used very sparingly by Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp. Most of Minamino’s appearances for the club have been as a substitute in the Carabao Cup.
It won’t be easy breaking into the first team with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané returning from AFCON and new signing Luis Díaz now also in the mix. One thing for certain though is that Minamino is a fighter, and he will need all that heart to win over Klopp.