Klopp jokes with Japanese journalist amid Minamino talk
Takumi Minamino is reportedly close to joining Liverpool, and Jurgen Klopp's exchange with a Japanese reporter may have given things away.
Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp engaged in a comical exchange with a Japanese journalist at Friday's news conference, hinting at Takumi Minamino's imminent arrival at Liverpool.
Salzburg star Minamino has been one of the Austrian club's star players over the past year, impressing in the Europa League last season and in the Champions League this term.
Liverpool faced Minamino
Liverpool had been able to take a particularly close look at the Japan international when the two clubs played one another twice in the Champions League group stage, with Minamino again catching the eye against the Reds in their 2-0 win on Tuesday.
Since then, media speculation has claimed Liverpool have already secured a deal to sign the attacking midfielder in January.
Klopp jokes around over Minamino
Klopp, who was speaking following confirmation of his new four-and-a-half-year contract, would not be drawn on the rumours but took a mischievous tone when a Japanese journalist raised his hand for a question.
"Why are you here?" Klopp quipped, adding: "I think we'll see you more often now."
But instead of asking Klopp about Minamino, the reporter actually queried the German on Shinji Kagawa, the Japanese player he worked with at Borussia Dortmund.
Klopp replied: "Look, he doesn't speak about Minamino, he speaks about Shinji Kagawa!
"I love that, that's great, and smart. I loved working with Shinji, a great experience because I didn't have much of an idea about Japanese football before I met Shinji. We saw him on video and signed him from watching him on video.
"We were not sure about him, but after first time training, in the dressing room, all of the coaches were just hugging each other, [saying], 'Oh my God, we've got a super player'.
"I had two years with Shinji, and you know better than I do, but the attitude of Japanese players is outstanding, smart, technically really good usually, work-rate outstanding, really dynamic and nice people.
"I still try to follow his career – it was just a great experience."
Earlier, Klopp batted away a question relating to the apparently imminent arrival of Minamino, though he did acknowledge rating the 24-year-old highly.
"There's nothing else to say," Klopp remarked. "We speak about it in the moment like we do about all transfers – or potential transfers – when it's sorted, so [I have] nothing to say about it.
"He's a very good player, I can say that, but I saw many good players in the Salzburg team, more than I wanted to see, but that's it."
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