Liverpool have already identified perfect Takumi Minamino replacement to fill ‘five positions’

Takumi Minamino was blessed with versatility at Liverpool but Fabio Carvalho could fill the void.

It was a departure that pretty much had been in the offing for several months.

Given Takumi Minamino’s perpetual period on the Liverpool periphery, an exit for more regular game-time this summer was inevitable.

A reluctant exit

Jurgen Klopp reluctantly sanctioned an exit for the Japan international. After two-and-a-half years playing a support-act role at Anfield, the Reds boss knew it was time for Minamino to depart.

Monaco is the destination he selected for a fee that could reach £15.5 million.

While some fans will consider Minamino a disappointment - especially after scintillating when facing Liverpool in the Champions League representing Red Bull Salzburg before his arrival - Klopp thinks the opposite.

The German has baulked at the suggestion of Minamino being a flop.

Regardless of the Reds doubling their money, having paid Salzburg just £7.25 million in January 2020, Klopp has a valid point.

Without the 27-year-old’s goals, the FA Cup nor the Carabao Cup would not be adorning the trophy cabinet. He finished as the club’s top scorer in both competitions.

Not only that but the standards Minamino hit in training every day were lauded. He drove competition in the squad, ensuring Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Co stayed on their mettle.

Versatility

And his versatility was also a potent weapon for Klopp off the bench.

Speaking after the Reds’ 4-0 thrashing of Arsenal in November, Klopp claimed that Minamino - who bagged the final goal as a substitute - was capable of playing in five positions.

“He’s in an incredible moment and today he was actually our solution for four positions, I think,” said the manager.

“Five positions actually because he could have played both eight positions and all three upfront. He’s in a really good moment and you see that.”

Having someone capable of featuring in several roles is a highly valuable and underrated commodity to any manager. It’s no wonder why Klopp will miss Minamino.

The perfect replacement

However, Liverpool already have the perfect replacement in Fabio Carvalho.

The teenager prepares to link up with his new team-mates for pre-season after signing from Fulham for a fee that is likely to reach £7.7 million.

Carvalho enjoyed an outstanding breakthrough campaign to help the Cottagers to the Championship title in 2021-22. He plundered a remarkable 11 goals and eight assists in 38 appearances.

Carvalho will be aware he’ll have to bide his time at Anfield. Given the forward options at Klopp’s disposal, all proven at Premier League and international level, it may be a season of learning for the 19-year-old.

But he can also fill the void of Minamino - especially in cup competitions.

At Fulham, Carvalho featured in various roles. As per Wyscout, he played as an attacking-midfielder, left-wing forward and left centre-midfielder last term.

Fabio Carvalho celebrates scoring for Fulham. Picture: Jacques Feeney/Getty Images

In addition, during his days in the Londoners’ academy, there were games when Carvalho took up duties on the right flank.

And even for England under-16s, Carvalho played in a defensive-midfield role.

Perhaps, given his potency, he could also play as a makeshift centre-forward in some matches if required. Minamino indeed did the job several times.

Undoubtedly, Klopp will have designs on unleashing Carvalho further forward. His exploits for Fulham in the final third speak for themselves.

And it's unlikely that, for now, Carvalho will not be pigeon-holed into one position - which will prove to his advantage.