JURGEN Klopp said Takumi Minamino would be an important player for Liverpool “again in the future” but labelled his loan move to Saints as “perfect”.

The Japan international joined up with Ralph Hasenhuttl’s squad midway through this season and has since played seven times, scoring on two occasions.

Minamino was ineligible to face parent club Liverpool with Saints on Saturday.

But writing in his pre-match programme notes ahead of the clash at Anfield, Klopp made it clear he still sees former Red Bull Salzburg man Minamino as a key part of his group.

Klopp said: “When we allowed him to go in January it was a tough call to make because he is an important player for us and will be again in the future, no doubt.

“But opportunities at that time had been short with us and therefore going to play somewhere else made sense for him and us.

“Southampton was perfect because of how Ralph plays and what he demands from his players.”

Asked last week whether there had been any talks regarding Minamino for next season, Saints boss Hasenhuttl said: “No, not yet. We try to give him as much game time as possible.”

Attacking midfielder Minamino could be involved when Saints host Crystal Palace on Tuesday.