The Reds boss will not be drawn into comparing the former RB Salzburg team-mates, one of whom is making waves at his old club
Jurgen Klopp rejected suggestions that Liverpool signed the wrong player from Red Bull Salzburg in January, pointing out that both Takumi Minamino and Erling Haaland ended up at the “perfect” club.
Salzburg saw two of their young stars up sticks over the winter, with Minamino completing a move to Anfield while Borussia Dortmund swooped for the in-demand Haaland.
Initial impressions of the pair, however, have differed wildly.
Minamino has made just four appearances for the Reds as he continues to adapt to his new surroundings, a far cry from the exploits of his former team-mate who has taken German football by storm.
Haaland’s double to down Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday took him to an astounding 11 goals in 450 minutes of play in BVB colours, making him the toast of world football at just 19.
But Klopp is reluctant to make such comparisons as he backed his new signing to keep improving.
“The difference couldn’t be bigger,” he told reporters on Friday.
“Erling Haaland made a perfect choice with Dortmund, and Taki made a perfect choice too.
“Dortmund needed a striker. Everybody blames Man United for not getting him, but we wouldn’t have got him – not that we tried. It’s as easy as that.
“He wanted a top team, as soon as possible, with an open space – Borussia Dortmund.
“That’s timing. I hope you know how much I love and respect the people at Dortmund, but it’s not that they made a perfect approach and did this and that, it was more they were there, had the space, number nine… ‘Here we go, you are 19 years old, want to play Champions League, top end of Bundesliga, so go for it’.
“Nobody else had a chance, I’m pretty sure, no matter what they say. Taki finds here a completely different situation. That’s normal.
“We have no problems, particularly in an offensive position, but we need variation at moments.
“Taki tries everything. Against the ball he is top class, but if you ask him, although he doesn’t say it, he wants to do what we want him to do. But we want him to do what he does naturally.
“That’s the time we need, and you lose a little bit of quality in that period until you fight back.”
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Liverpool suffered a rare setback in their last outing, losing their Champions League last-16 first leg to Atletico Madrid 1-0.
Domestically, however, they remain imperious, with 25 wins and one draw in their opening 26 games practically ending the Premier League title race as early as February.
Klopp’s men will be back in action on Monday, when they host West Ham United at Anfield.