Jürgen Klopp has found 'dominant' Liverpool ace who could prove to be transfer masterstroke


Jürgen Klopp couldn't have been more pleased with the performance of his Liverpool stars on Wednesday night against Leicester City. After making 10 changes, a bit of a wobble would have been expected against a side in great form, but even after conceding a goal early on, the result was never in doubt.

The players who needed to step up did exactly that, with plenty of strong individual performances. But perhaps the best of the lot was by Japanese international captain, Wataru Endō.

Signed almost out of nowhere in the summer, Endō wasn't exactly the player many had expected the club to bring in for the number six position. But based on his track record, he has always been a reliable player and one who might have made the most sense for Liverpool out of all the options available to them in the market.

In all fairness, since arriving at the club he hasn't really had the opportunity to catch the eye in a Liverpool shirt. The game against Leicester was only his third start so far, and before the game, Endō admitted he was still getting used to playing for Liverpool and adjusting to a new system.

"I have to give 110 per cent and even then I feel like I've done the bare minimum," Endō said in his video blog published by Japanese media Synchronous. "I feel like I still have to adapt to the system more and more, so please wait a little longer."

Against Leicester though, Endō showed an inkling of what could be to come and just why he could be a smart addition for a club like Liverpool. After a relatively solid first half, the Japanese international exploded in the second growing into the game with ease, and Klopp drew special praise to him in his post-match conference (which you can listen to via Blood Red).

"Now we look back, a top night, Wataru how he grew into the game, how dominant he was in the second half. The way he won the ball, passed the ball, he passed the ball through the lines again, he played a super game."

It was always going to take some time for Endō to adapt to a new system. Over the last few years, he had been accustomed to playing in a much more defensive formation and a compact midfield both for Stuttgart and the Japanese national team. At Liverpool, the holding midfielder's task is a bit more demanding and can leave the number six vulnerable and isolated.

But against Leicester, Endō stepped into that challenge and thrived winning six duels, making 13 recoveries and four interceptions. In the second half especially, Endō thwarted many Leicester counter-attacks as Liverpool seized complete control of the game.

On top of that, his passing was excellent, too. His assist for Dominik Szoboszlai may go overlooked, but it was actually a very clever ball that broke through the Leicester midfield and created an opening for the Hungarian to unleash his powerful shot. On top of that, Endō also created three more chances in the game and completed 90 per cent of his passes.

He still needs to adjust more, but the Japanese international showed on Wednesday night just why he can be of great value to Liverpool. There is undoubtedly a lot more to come from him as he adapts to his new environment. For such a small, low-risk fee, he could prove to be a masterstroke.

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