Liverpool handed fresh selection headache ahead of Leeds United clash

Liverpool have a potential injury headache for next weekend’s Elland Road clash after Takumi Minamino returned from international duty early with an injury.

The Japan FA announced yesterday that Minamino was returning to the UK ‘due to an injury’ and would not be playing in the country’s World Cup qualifier against China.

A statement said, “Midfielder Takumi Minamino (Liverpool FC) has been withdrawn from the team due to an injury at SAMURAI BLUE, which is active for the Asian final qualifying (Road to Qatar) China national team match.

“We will inform you of additional convened players to replace Minamino as soon as they are decided.”

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According to a report by the Liverpool Echo, the injury is not serious, but it has created a problem for boss Jurgen Klopp with Liverpool’s Brazilian attacker Roberto Firmino already reporting an injury.

Klopp still has the likes of Diogo Jota, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah to choose from for Sunday’s game against Leeds, but the injuries mean his back-up forward options are hugely reduced.

Minamino arrived at Anfield from Red Bull Salzburg in 2020, having made a name for himself with the Austrian side in the Champions League. He struggled at Liverpool though, failing to become a first-team regular.

In the second half of last season he ended up loaned out to Southampton. He managed to get on the scoresheet on his debut for Southampton, but did not do enough to persuade Klopp that he should be in Liverpool’s starting line-up upon returning to Anfield.

Instead, this season Minamino has found himself on the bench for all three of Liverpool’s opening Premier League matches.

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