Who is Takumi Minamino? Liverpool Winger Hailed as 'Very Clever Player' By Manager Jürgen Klopp

Jürgen Klopp has hailed Takumi Minamino as a "very clever player" after Liverpool completed the signing of the Japanese playmaker on Wednesday.

The current Premier League leaders paid Red Bull Salzburg just $9.8 million for the 24-year-old after triggering his release clause earlier this week.

Minamino has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal and will officially become a Liverpool player when the winter transfer window opens on January 1, meaning he will be available when the Reds host local rivals Everton in the third round of the FA Cup on January 5.

"Takumi is a very quick, very clever player; he finds space between the lines," Klopp's told Liverpool's website.

"He is brave with the ball but also brave without the ball—a proper team player. He makes the best of himself for the benefit of others. His Champions League experience is a big bonus and coming from the club and organisation he does, we know he'll be well coached, used to an elite environment and had all the right experiences. It is fantastic work by our football operations team."

The Japan international, who will wear the number 18 jersey, has faced his new teammates twice this season in the Champions League. He was on the scoresheet as Red Bull Salzburg lost 4-3 away at Liverpool in October and played in the Red Bull's 2-0 defeat at home last week.

"From those games I learned this team has such a high level of technique and intensity," Minamino said.

"Their football is of such a high level and I did feel that they were the champions of the Champions League. Feeling that, it makes me feel even happier that I can play in this team. I'm really happy to be part of that team. My target is to win the Premier League and the Champions League, and to make good contributions to the team."

Despite playing in the Champions League for Salzburg, the Japanese will be available to play in the round of 16 in February, following a rule change by UEFA—European soccer's governing body—last year which allows players to play for two different clubs in the same European competition in the same season.

Minamino has nine goals and 11 assists in 22 appearances in all competitions this season, bringing his tally to 64 goals and 44 assists in 199 appearances for Red Bull Salzburg in four years with the Austrian side.

A right winger by trade, the 24-year-old can also operate on the other flank and has also been deployed as attacking midfielder this season—most recently in the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool on December 10.

Fleet-footed with the ball and rapid without it, Minamino should fit seamlessly into Liverpool's high-pressing game and will provide Klopp with another attacking option to choose from, giving the German the chance to rest one between Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

Minamino, who began his career in his home country with Cerezo Osaka, has 11 goals in 22 senior caps for Japan and will become the first Japanese to wear Liverpool's red.

"It has been a dream, my dream, to become a Liverpool player, and I'm so excited that the moment has come true," he added.

"To play in the Premier League was one of my targets. I think this is the top-class league in the world; I was thinking if my career as a footballer progressed smoothly, some day I would be able to play in the Premier League.

"But I never thought I would be able to play in this team and I'm really happy about it. I'm looking forward to it."

Takumi Minamino, Liverpool
Takumi Minamino of RB Salzburg controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League group E match between RB Salzburg and Liverpool FC at Red Bull Arena on December 10 in Salzburg, Austria. The Japanese will join Liverpool on January 1, 2020. TF-Images/Getty
Who is Takumi Minamino? Liverpool Winger Hailed as 'Very Clever Player' By Manager Jürgen Klopp | Sports