Football: Eight things to know about Japan's Takumi Minamino, the first Asian to sign for Liverpool

Japanese international Takumi Minamino is the first Asian to sign for Liverpool. PHOTO: AP

LONDON (AFP, REUTERS, AP) - Japanese international Takumi Minamino signed for Champions League holders Liverpool on Thursday (Dec 19) for a reported fee of £7.25 million (S$12.9 million) from Austrian outfit Red Bull Salzburg, the English Premier League leaders announced.

Here is what you need to know about this 24-year-old:

1. He is the first Asian to sign for the 18-time English champions.

2. He is a midfielder who can also play as a forward.

3. He will be free to play for Liverpool from Jan 1 and could be involved in the FA Cup third-round tie at home to city rivals Everton on Jan 5.

4. Despite already featuring in the Champions League this term, Minamino would be eligible to play for Liverpool in the knockout stages after Uefa changed its rule last year to allow players to represent two different clubs in the same season.

5. He has earned 22 caps for Japan and scored 11 times since making his debut in October 2015. He was also in the team that finished runners-up to Qatar at the Asian Cup earlier this year.

6. He joined Salzburg from J-League side Cerezo Osaka in January 2015. He has made 199 appearances for the Austrian side, scoring 64 goals.

7. He will wear the No. 18 jersey at Anfield. Other former Reds who had worn that number include Alberto Moreno, Dirk Kuyt and very briefly, Michael Owen (who eventually took on the No. 10 shirt) and John Arne Riise (who moved on to No. 6).

8. After spending the last four years in Austria, he can speak German and so should have no issue communicating with the Reds' German manager Jurgen Klopp.

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