Sheffield United receive a pre-Liverpool boost

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Sheffield United’s hopes of exploiting Liverpool’s fatigue over the Christmas period have received a boost after it emerged Takumi Minamino, the Premier League leaders’ latest new signing, will not be available for selection at Anfield on Thursday.

The Japan international joined Liverpool from Red Bull Salzburg earlier this month, and had hoped to make his debut when United travel to Merseyside later this week.

But competition rules state Minamino, who scored seven goals in his final 20 outings for the Austrians, can not be called upon until Liverpool’s FA Cup tie against Everton on January 5.

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Speaking after watching his side beat Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp suggested he hoped to include the forward in his plans for United’s visit.

“Hopefully for the next game we will have two more players available,” Klopp said, after also terminating Nathaniel Phillips’ loan to Stuttgart.