Takumi Minamino

Liverpool seals 99-point season with comeback win at Newcastle

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Newcastle – Liverpool: Three different goal scorers and assist men helped Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win over Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Sunday.

Old nemesis Dwight Gayle scored early to put the Reds down 1-0 but Virgil van Dijk, Divock Origi, and Sadio Mane scored to send the champions out on a club-record 99 points.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Newcastle finishes 13th with 44 points. Ex-Liverpool man Jonjo Shelvey assisted Gayle’s first minute opener.

WATCH NEWCASTLE – LIVERPOOL FULL MATCH REPLAY


Two things we learned (We’ll keep this quick)

1. Champs go out on top and deserve a rest: Liverpool, more than anyone else, has earned a proper break and the chance to recharge its batteries. It’s going to be monumentally challenging for the Reds to regroup with the same intensity and weekly desperation to outlast the competition but who cares? Order a lot of sandwiches and don’t think of soccer for a while, gents.

2. A word for Steve Bruce: Newcastle could hardly find a manager after Rafa Benitez left and Steve Bruce got a load of grief after accepting the job at his boyhood club. Whatever you think of the Magpies’ season — and they were very fortunate in many wins and draws — Bruce did one of his best managing jobs and deserves more than a few high fives if only for dealing with all the “Hey are you going to get fired if the takeover is completed?” questions. That he took so many without taking a swing at anyone deserves a wink and a nod.

Man of the Match

Mane only played about a half-hour but scored an absolute beauty. Call this a season-achievement award:


Newcastle – Liverpool recap

Former Newcastle teammate Georginio Wijnaldum trusted Shelvey a bit much in handing him the ball for a quickly-played free kick that sprung Gayle on Alisson Becker.
Gayle has done some things against Liverpool in his day, memories erased by the Reds’ lovely title this season.

Dubravka then made a flying save to deny Takumi Minamino’s dribble and rip in the 29th.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross was put home by Van Dijk to make it 1-1 at half.

Newcastle regrouped after the break and substitute Sean Longstaff could’ve had the Magpies back in front off a Shelvey feed but missed wide.

Origi made it 2-1 when he defied Dubravka just before the hour mark.

Salah then smashed off the post and was denied again when his break was denied by a sliding Federico Fernandez.

Henderson puts Liverpool ahead at half, Mane limps off

Sadio Mane injury
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Sadio Mane walked off the Molineux pitch with an injury in the 33rd minute of Liverpool’s visit to Wolves on Thursday.

The Senegalese winger sat on the turf until the ball was played out by Wolves, then stood up and took a couple of steps before sitting down again.

[ STREAM LIVE: Wolves v. Liverpool ]

It certainly didn’t look like anything major, but Mane’s quick and decisive exit certainly won’t ease the concerns of Reds supporters.

Takumi Minamino took his place, making a Premier League debut with Liverpool leading 1-0 on a Jordan Henderson goal.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

Henderson rose high to nod a Trent Alexander-Arnold free kick towards goal, and Wolves keeper Rui Patricio could get a hand on it to redirect it into the side netting.

Salzburg star Minamino signs for Liverpool, will join in January

Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
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LIVERPOOL, England — Takumi Minamino will become the first Japanese player for Liverpool.

[ MORE: Solskjaer, Rashford excited for Manchester Derby in League Cup semis ]

The Premier League leaders announced the signing of the 24-year-old Minamino on Thursday, saying he will officially join on Jan. 1

“It has been a dream, my dream to become a Liverpool player,” the Japan attacking midfielder said. “I’m so excited that the moment has come true.”

Minamino made a big impression in two games between Liverpool and Salzburg in the group stage of the Champions League this season.

[ MORE: Klopp: “So many strange things happened” in CWC semifinal win ]

A midfielder who can also play as a forward, Minamino joined Salzburg from Japanese club Cerezo Osaka in 2015. He reportedly had a release clause of $9.5 million.

Shinji Okazaki won the Premier League title with Leicester in 2016, while Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Hidetoshi Nakata (Bolton) and Junichi Inamoto (Arsenal and Fulham) are among other Japanese to have played in England’s top division.

Liverpool in talks to activate Minamino’s release clause

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On the face of it, this move makes perfect sense for everyone concerned. Especially Liverpool, who get a bargain.

Multiple reports state that the Premier League leaders are in advanced talks to sign Japanese winger Takumi Minamino from RB Salzburg.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Minamino, 24, has a release clause of just $9.5 million and it has been reported that he will move to Liverpool in January with talks going well over a five-year contract.

RB Salzburg sporting director Christoph Freund confirmed talks are ongoing about the transfer, with Bayern Munich and Marseille also said to be interested in signing the tricky winger.

“I can confirm that there are talks with Liverpool at the moment. It is an honor [for us] to see the caliber of clubs who are interested in our players.”

Minamino’s goals, pace and trickery pushed Salzburg to within one game of reaching the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds and he impressed against Liverpool in both games in the UCL group stage as he scored at Anfield and gave their defense plenty of problems in the return game. His skillset would perfectly suit the way Liverpool play with his direct running, pace and nose for goal seemingly perfect for Jurgen Klopp‘s side.

With Klopp and his RB Salzburg counterpart Jesse Marsch hugging on the sidelines after Liverpool’s win in Austria on Tuesday, plus Klopp’s kind words on the job the American coach is doing at Salzburg, it’s safe to say there’s a strong connection between the two teams and their styles of play are very similar.

That’s an even better reason for Minamino to head to Liverpool as the Japanese star would slot in seamlessly and he would become the third former RB Salzburg player at the Reds alongside Naby Keita and Sadio Mane.

From the style of play of both player and the club, to the small transfer fee, this works out very well for everyone involved. Even Salzburg will be happy to become known as a feeder club to Liverpool and Europe’s other big boys as that will help them with their future recruitment.