Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

The circumstances behind a close to £16m signing of Wataru Endo might need some Liverpool supporters involved. The failed pursuits of each Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia have left Jurgen Klopp in need of choices in midfield and turning to the 30-year-old Endo may very well be seen as a desperation transfer.

Stuttgart’s captain is just not a younger expertise to excite within the mould of these different names. However given the departures of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and James Milner, this acquisition could be one of many smarter bits of enterprise that Liverpool might have accomplished.

He’s a dependable performer, who will probably be decided to grab this chance, an knowledgeable within the holding function who can contribute to each the defensive and offensive section of the sport. There aren’t any query marks over his character – simply ask those that know him.

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The Occasions’ Tom Roddy on what Liverpool’s transfer to signal Wataru Endo tells us

‘He’s a extremely nice participant’

It was the ultimate query for Bundesliga legend Mario Gomez as he sat down with a gaggle of worldwide journalists on the Allianz Enviornment on Saturday night. Japanese reporter Daisuke Ishii requested about Endo, the previous striker’s previous team-mate at Stuttgart.

Gomez had already mentioned every part from Germany’s issues to his personal Spanish roots, however his eyes lit up on the point out of Endo. “I like Wataru, to be sincere.” It was he who had pushed for the participant’s inclusion when each discovered themselves out of the crew.

“Wataru sat subsequent to me within the dressing room and had a extremely exhausting time as a result of the coach didn’t use him at first.” In 2020, Gomez was within the remaining season of his profession and had adjusted to his personal state of affairs, a mentor to the squad. “I used to be pleased with this function.”

Endo, in his prime, was extra annoyed. “I used to be all the time telling him simply to maintain calm, preserve doing what he was doing as a result of he did superb in coaching.” So superb, in actual fact, that it grew to become a working theme of the classes than Gomez would pair up with Endo.

“After the sport we had the 4 towards 4,” Gomez explains. “After I got here into the dressing room, I used to be all the time telling the coach to place me in the identical crew as Wataru as a result of then we are going to by no means lose. That is the way it began. I used to be simply pushing him quite a bit.

“At a sure level, the coach used him. After which it isn’t me, it’s in regards to the participant, as a result of he performed improbable. That’s the reason he’s enjoying not as a result of I instructed the coach that he’s nice. It’s as a result of he’s a extremely nice participant. Now, he’s the captain of his crew.”

Mario Gomez pictured coaching with Wataru Endo for Stuttgart in 2020

Gomez regards Endo as an “instance of how crew sport ought to look” due to his angle – somebody who’s “all the time giving every part for the group”. He admires his serenity in coping along with his younger youngsters. “I’ve three and I’m struggling. He’s simply by no means pressured.”

However simply as his performances in these four-against-four video games in coaching would counsel, that is about greater than his good character, extra even than the flexibility that might see him fill in on the again in addition to in midfield for Liverpool. Endo has the standard to succeed too.

Wataru Endo’s heatmap and passing sonar for Japan on the 2022 World Cup

Endo’s spectacular statistics

Klopp will relish his combative method. This can be a participant who ranked sixth final season for duels received within the Bundesliga. Previously three seasons, he’s one in all solely three gamers to make 200 tackles, one in all solely two to win the ball again 400 instances in the course of the pitch.

Having deployed Alexis Mac Allister in that deeper function on the opening weekend and missed out on each Caicedo and Lavia to Chelsea, Liverpool’s want for a defensive-minded midfielder is clear. Endo has proven in his lengthy profession that he can try this job.

What makes him a very attention-grabbing proposition, maybe what persuaded Klopp to make the transfer, is that his in-possession recreation is nice sufficient to thrive within the Premier League too. Like these different targets, Endo could be rather more than a mere destroyer.

His passing statistics are strong and there’s creativity there too. Remarkably, there have been solely 4 gamers – Jamal Musiala, Dominik Szoboszlai, Moussa Diaby and Raphael Guerreiro – who created extra probabilities from open play than Endo within the Bundesliga final season.

He can get ahead to press and to move, important even for the extra defensive gamers in a Klopp crew. Endo received the ball again 22 instances within the remaining third final season and scored twice from Stuttgart counter-attacks. He even scored three objectives from outdoors the field.

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Watch Wataru Endo’s wonderful objective to complete a counter-attack towards Mainz final season

That he ranks so extremely on so many metrics owes a lot to the truth that he has been a digital ever-present for his membership since Gomez made his case again in 2020. In reality, no participant within the Bundesliga has began extra video games than Endo over the previous three seasons.

However then that’s the type of robustness that Klopp would require, notably after being burned by the Arthur Melo expertise – not the identify of a jazz band however the injury-prone Brazilian loaned from Juventus final season who didn’t play a Premier League minute.

Endo is a safer wager. And if he does discover himself kicking his heels in its place, the message to his new Liverpool team-mates will probably be clear. Simply be certain that he’s first decide for that small-sided recreation in coaching afterwards. He won’t keep on the bench for lengthy.

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