LIVERPOOL will be able to play Takumi Minamino in the Champions League knockout stages should they sign the Japanese star – despite him shining for Red Bull Salzburg in the competition this season.
That is because Uefa changed the rulings to allow signings in the January transfer window to play for their new side in the knockout stages.
Previously, three new eligible players could be added to the squad between the groups and last 16 as long as they had not played in the competition for another club.
The likes of Real Madrid’s Klass-Jan Huntelaar and more recently Philippe Coutinho at Barcelona were forced to sit out of the Champions League matches due to being cup-tied.
Now, though, who transferred players represented before their winter move is irrelevant.
Clubs must still stick to the 25-man limit on ‘List A’ – players born before January 1 1998 – and meet the quota of eight “locally-trained players”.
And it looks on course to make good news for Jurgen Klopp.
Despite reported interest from Manchester United, Liverpool are expected to complete the £7.25million signing of Minamino when the transfer window reopens in 16 days’ time.
The 24-year-old forward has been in fine form for Salzburg this season, scoring nine goals and providing 11 assists including one of each at Anfield in October.
He has bagged a further seven goals for Japan in 2019, making him the country’s top scorer this year.
Despite winning Group E, Liverpool face a tricky last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid.
What the Champions League rules state about January signings
It is Article 45 of the regulations for the Uefa Champions League that relate to the registration of new players…
- 45.01 As of the round of 16, a club may register a maximum of three new eligible players for the remaining matches in the current competition. Such registration must be completed by 3 February 2020 (24.00CET) at the latest. This deadline cannot be extended.
- 45.02 Any or all of the players from the above quota of three may have been fielded for another club in the qualifying phase, play-offs or group stage of the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League.
The other games see Atalanta face Valencia, Lyon versus Juventus and Napoli against Barcelona.
The first legs will take place on February 18/19 and 25/26. The second legs will be March 10/11 and 17/18.