Wataru Endo and his Japansese teammates are celebrating, after Japan qualified for the knock-out stages of the 2024 Asian Cup.
Victory over Indonesia on Wednesday evening meant Japan finished second in Group D, behind group winners Iraq, who Japan surprisingly lost to in their second match. Japan needed to beat Indonesia, to ensure they progressed, and duly won the game 3 - 1, with goals in the 6th, 52nd and 88th minutes, ensuring a routine win.
By finishing second in the Group, Japan face a tougher match in the next round, and will now face Bahrain on the 31st Janaury 2024. Bahrain lost to South Korea in their opening match, but then defeated Malaysia and Jordan to finish top of their group.
The match will take place at the Al Thumama Stadium, which has a capacity of 44,400. Kick off is 11.30 local time.
By qualifying for the knock-out stages, Endo will now miss further games for Liverpool, including this weekends FA Cup tie against Norwich City at Anfield.
How many games could Endo miss for Liverpool...
Exactly how many games Endo misses will depend on how far Japan progress in the competition. The Final is scheduled to take place on 10th February 2024, so Endo could be away for another two weeks if Japan were to make the Final. During that time Liverpool will play the following games :
28th January 2024
vs Norwich City
FA Cup Fourth Round
Liverpool host championship side, Norwich City, this Sunday in the FA Cup. Although Klopp will not take the opposition lightly, it's likely key players would be rested for this match, with Klopp using a mixture of squad and younger players, to see Liverpool into the next round.
31st January 2024
The next Premier League game that Endo will miss is against Chelsea at Anfield. These games tend to be tight, with several boring 0 - 0 draws recently between the sides. Alexis Mac allister has been playing brilliantly in the no.6 role for the last few games, so would probably have got the nod over Endo, but if other midfielders are missing, then Endo could have played as the no.6, freeing up Mac allister to play a more attacking midfield role.
4th February 2024
@ The Emirates
This could be one of the key games of the season. With just a few points between the two teams, and Manchester City breathing down everyone's necks, neither team will want to lose this game. Arsenal held the Reds to a frustrating 1 - 1 draw at Anfield, but Liverpool will know they need a win to maintain their title charge. Klopp would love to have Endo available, to play in front of the defence, and help solidify the Liverpool midfield.
1oth February 2024
The match against Burnley is the same day as the Asian Cup Final. With it being a home game, against a weaker opponent, Klopp will not be too worried if Endo is still on international duty at this point.
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Peter Farrell - Editor and Chief Article Writer, LFC - Back On Our Perch
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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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