Versatile Liverpool forward preparing for Salah and Mane AFCON absence

Liverpool forward Takumi Minamino is preparing to take his chance ahead of the likely upcoming absence of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Minamino has been used mainly as a substitute this season behind the likes of Salah, Mane, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino who have all be in fine form.

However, with the African Cup of Nations coming up in the the new year, Liverpool will need their squad players to step up as Salah links up with Egypt and Mane joins Senegal.

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Minamino and Divock Origi and likely to have to step up in the absence of Jurgen Klopp’s key men and whilst the Japanese international hasn’t name-checked the forwards, he has admitted he is preparing for his chance.

Speaking to, the 26-year-old said: “I always keep my motivation high and the manager’s comments do not necessarily make it even higher.

“It is what professional players need to do and I don’t do anything special. Even though I play only limited amounts of game time, when I am given a chance I do my best to show my 100 per cent.

“In order to do so, I need to prepare for it. It is what professional players need to do. But, still, I am very glad that there are people who look at me and make good comments about me.”

Klopp has recently praised Minamino’s versatility and whilst the Japanese star admits this benefits him, he believes his best position is leading the line.

“Playing closest to the goal is my favourite position, I believe it is one of my roles to score goals.

“But the manager decides where I play, and it is good that he says that I can play in many positions because it is one of my advantages. I would like to play at a higher level in every position.”

Liverpool take on Wolves on Saturday as they look to build on their impressive 4-1 win over Everton on Wednesday, but Minamino knows it will be a tough ask.

“There are many great players at Wolves such as Raul Jimenez, Adama Traore and Hwang Hee-chan, who was my teammate at Salzburg. They are tough opponents.

“But without beating these tough teams, we can’t win the Premier League. I want to win the next match and if I am given a chance, I want to play 100 per cent for the team.”

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