Jurgen Klopp Explains Wataru Endo’s Lack of Minutes at Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp has offered an explanation for Wataru Endo’s relative lack of minutes since joining Liverpool last month. The Japan captain has started just once in the Premier League since his £16 million summer move and was again restricted to a substitute appearance against West Ham on Sunday.
Endo was introduced in the 88th minutes of the Reds 3-1 win over the Hammers, with many fans surprised that he wasn’t called upon earlier in the contest given that he remains the squad’s only specialist No. 6. Speaking after the game, the manager insisted that the midfielder is “not a short-term project” despite his age and that he is still adjusting to life at Anfield.
“He needs to get used to the things here,” admitted the boss when asked about Endo’s role within the squad. “He is not 30 or whatever and wants to get some people out of the way to get into the team, but he is improving every day. You saw that today, he is there, he will help us a lot, he will play games, he will start games and all these kinds of things. It’s all good, he had already three or four games now for us in a very short period.
“That is what counts, it is not a short-term project. Wataru is a super-important part of the squad and I am really happy to have him.”
Endo Joins Liverpool as Third of Four Midfield Signings
Endo became the third of four midfield signings over the summer when he arrived from the Bundesliga in August. It came after the club failed in their attempts to land Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia and – aged 30 – many fans assumed that Endo was seen as a readymade alternative.
The midfielder was however handed a four-year contract despite being significantly older than the previous targets, indicating that Klopp views him as a player who can contribute into his twilight years. Whether that translates into more playing time in the coming weeks remains to be seen, but Endo will be keen to put his stamp on the much-changed Reds midfield sooner rather than later given the competition for places.
Endo Still Adjusting to Life at Anfield
Klopp has made it clear that Endo is not a short-term project and is still adjusting to life at Anfield. The manager has been impressed with his performances so far and believes that he will be an important part of the squad going forward.
Endo has been handed a four-year contract despite being significantly older than other targets, indicating that Klopp views him as a player who can contribute into his twilight years. Whether this translates into more playing time in the coming weeks remains to be seen, but Endo will be keen to put his stamp on the much-changed Reds midfield sooner rather than later given the competition for places.
At 30 years old, Endo may not be seen as a long-term solution for Liverpool but Klopp clearly believes that he can make an impact at Anfield. With competition for places in midfield fierce, Endo will need to make an impression soon if he is to become an important part of the Reds squad going forward.