RALPH Hasenhuttl insisted Saints were not in discussion with Liverpool regarding the future of Takumi Minamino.

The Japan international arrived at St Mary's in February, on a loan deal until the end of the season.

Since arriving, Minamino has featured six times for Saints, scoring twice.

And Hasenhuttl says there are no plans in place to extend the 26-year-old's stay on the south coast.

"To be honest, we haven't had any negotiations about that so far," said the Saints boss.

"We don’t even know what Liverpool thinks about the player in the summer.

"The deal was to give him game-time during the first half of the year when he is here.

"This is what we did definitely, until now, and hopefully he will get even more time to play."

Since joining Liverpool from RB Salzburg in January 2020, Minamino has struggled for regular minutes on Merseyside.

Of his 31 appearances for Jurgen Klopp's men, only 12 have been as a starter, with just four of them coming in the Premier League.

Asked if Saints have shown Minamino what he's missing out on at Liverpool by playing him more regularly, Hasenhuttl said: "It is never nice for a player if you don’t have the game time you want to have.

"It’s always hard only to train and not see the perspective to be part of the squad, or the first XI. This definitely then helps your mentality when you get a lift and a chance to play.

"This is what I always say when players like to join big clubs, because they get a lot of money there and they get a lot of praise for being a part of one of the top six or whatever.

"But it is only for a short moment when you are happy about it because in the end when you are not playing enough times and when you are not really important for the club, then it feels very awful very quickly.

"The most important thing for the player is always to get a chance to play. In our club we had so much rotation with injuries and everything so it was clear immediately that he would get a lot of game time.

"At the moment it is a little bit more difficult, I think, but still with his quality here he has scored a few good goals for us so far. I am happy to have him on the bench."