Exclusive: Liverpool have already signed Mane replacement - Kev Phillips

Kevin Phillips has claimed Liverpool already have a replacement for Sadio Mane in Takumi Minamino.

The former England international, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, suggested Jurgen Klopp has the man best placed to fill a huge void were the Senegal international to leave.

Minamino was signed by the Reds in January having impressed when playing at Anfield for Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League group stages.

However, since his arrival, the 25-year-old has struggled for game time behind the imperious trio of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohammed Salah.

When asked by Football Insider for his assessment of the Japan international’s start on Merseyside, Phillips said: “Klopp has eased him in gently. That is good management. Do not put pressure on the kid straight away and let him get to know the squad.

“Of course, trying to dislodge one of that front-three is hard but he has had some game time.

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“He is one of those that Klopp has in place if Sadio Mane was to leave or Firmino. Maybe there is a replacement there, but when you have those three at your club you are not getting in front of them.

“You have to be patient. He looks like he has qualities.

“At times he found it difficult to get into the game when he has come on but he looks like a decent. Given time he will be a good one.”

Football Insider revealed last month that Real Madrid are keen to bolster their front line with the addition of Mane despite having raided Chelsea for Eden Hazard less than a year ago.

Minamino put pen to paper on a four-and-a-half-year deal with the Premier League leaders.

The versatile forward registered 9 goals and 11 assists in the first half of the season prior to his move to Anfield.

In other Liverpool news, Noel Whelan has told Football Insider 22-year-old target can displace Klopp favourite next season.