More than a few eyebrows were raised when Wataru Endo signed for Liverpool. After all, just days before his arrival, Liverpool had been bidding £110million on Moises Caicedo, and £50million on Romeo Lavia. Both were young, exciting talents with massive potential. Just what Liverpool needed in a new defensive midfielder.
But after being turned down by both players, Klopp and his scouts turned to a much less familiar name. Wataru Endo.
At 30 years of age, and with no 'big' European club on his CV, many people assumed he was a panic buy. No other English clubs were interested. Even the bigger clubs in Germany seemed un-interested. But Klopp and his trusted advisors had seen something they liked. Whether it was his attitude, or his impressive numbers in the Bundesliga, the transfer was wrapped up in under 2 days.
Instead of a transfer fee in excess of £100million, Endo cost just £16million. Rival fans were having a field day. After missing out on Caicedo and Lavia, Liverpool were shopping in the bargain bin....
Yet half way through the season, with Liverpool top of the league and progressing in the cup competitions, it is Liverpool fans who are laughing now. And whilst I wouldn't say he is the best defensive midfielder in the league, Endo is definately what Liverpool need right now.
Endo breaks 18 year record....
You might have noticed that Liverpool have played a lot of matches recently. Five matches in thirteen days to be precise. In today's modern game, squad rotation is to be expected. Even the best players, like Mo Salah, don't start five games in thriteen days. Yet Wataru Endo has.
Starting with the final group game in the Europa League against Union SG on the 14th December, and finishing yesterday with our 2 - 0 victory over Burnley, Endo has started each of the last 5 games, something no other player did, not even the goalkeeper.
Indeed, by playing in all five games, Endo has broken an 18 year record, dating to the 2005/06 season. Back then it was common for players to play week in, week out, with squad rotation simpy not a thing that managers worried about. If you were fit you played. Nowadays, things are very different, with managers keen to rest players whenever possible. Back in January 2006, Liverpool had six players who started five games in thirteen days, including Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard and Sami Hyypia. But Endo is the first Liverpool player to achieve the feat since then.
Of course, injury problems means Klopp's options are somewhat limited in central midfield. However, that shouldn't take away from the excellent performances that Endo has put in during those 5 games. He is starting games on merit, not to make up the numbers.
Liverpool welcome Newcastle United to Anfield next, on Monday 1st January. If I was a betting man, I would put my money on Endo starting in the centre of midfield....
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... About The Author ...
Peter Farrell - Editor and Chief Article Writer, LFC - Back On Our Perch
Articles written by Author :: 348
Lifelong fan with a passion for all things Liverpool. First memory of football is watching John Barnes score a dramatic last minute equaliser in the FA Cup when he was 4. Feels lucky to be a part of the 'Klopp' era.
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