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Soccer: Takumi Minamino nets brace for Liverpool in cup win over Norwich

Takumi Minamino, front left, of Liverpool scores a goal against Norwich in the third round of the English Football League Cup on Sept. 21, 2021. (Kyodo)

NORWICH, England (Kyodo) -- Takumi Minamino scored twice on Tuesday to help Liverpool advance to the fourth round of the English Football League Cup with a 3-0 win over Norwich.

    The Japan attacker, who returned from a loan spell with Southampton, made an instant impact in his first appearance of the season for a Liverpool side featuring several reserves and young players.

    He gave the visitors the lead from a corner in the fourth minute at Carrow Road, turning and finishing from Divock Origi's knockdown.

    After Origi put Liverpool up 2-0 early in the second half, Minamino sealed the result with 10 minutes remaining, gathering a short pass from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and finishing under pressure from the right of goal.

    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who moved Minamino from the wing to midfield in the second half, praised the 26-year-old for working hard to come back from a thigh injury that forced his withdrawal from recent national team duties.

    "Other players need time as well to get back on track after an injury, but Taki is in a good moment, trained really well and deserved these two goals," Klopp told Liverpool's official site.

    In Belgium, Japan winger Kaoru Mitoma scored his first goal for Royale Union Saint-Gilloise in a 7-0 Belgian Cup win over lower-league side Lebbeke.

    The 24-year-old, on loan from English Premier League side Brighton, opened the scoring in the 16th minute at Stade Joseph Marien in Brussels.

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