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17th Aug 2023

Wataru Endo: The pros and cons of Liverpool’s new signing

Lee Costello

Wataru Endo

The jury is out on Waturo Endo.

Liverpool’s search for a defensive midfielder has been a painful one with lots of high hopes, false dawns and dodgy highjacks, but they seem to have finally landed on Wataru Endo.

Last week it was announced that Liverpool were on the brink of signing Moises Caicedo for a record-breaking deal, and were on the verge of getting Southampton’s Romeo Lavia, only for them both to choose Chelsea instead.

This summer club captain Jordan Henderson, vice-captain James Milner, Fabinho, Naby Keita, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, all left the club, meaning that Jurgen Klopp is down five names that can play in the middle of the park.

Initially, they were quick to rectify this by signing World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister, and Hungary captain Dominik Szoboszlai, but still no one is able to fulfil that number six role.

Now, almost out of the blue, they are in the process of signing Waturo Endo from Stuggart, an announcement that resulted in Liverpool fans everywhere furiously typing his name into YouTube, but we have done the hard work for you and compiled the pros and cons of this signing.

CON: Wataru Endo is 30 years old

In the world of professional football, people are almost pushing you towards retirement at the age of the 30, and considering that a chunk of Liverpool’s problems last season were borne from the fact that they had an ageing midfield, most fans were hoping for a fresher alternative.

James Milner Leeds

PRO: He is only 30 years old

Considering that Endo is only six months older than Fabinho, three years younger than Jordan Henderson and seven years younger than James Milner, you could argue that he is still injecting some youthful exuberance compared to last season.

With the departure of so many leaders in the summer, after Thiago, Mac Allister is the oldest midfielder in the team at only 24 years old, and any team that is hopeful of competing for trophies needs a fine balance of experience and youth.

CON: Zero Premier League experience

There’s no denying that the Bundesliga is a level below the Premier League, and unless you’re playing for Bayern Munich or Borrusia Dortmund, then it’s a good chance that a lot of the clips you see of him playing well on YouTube are against lesser opposition.

PRO: He has played at the highest level

Endo’s leadership qualities are obviously something that appealed to Klopp as he is currently the captain of both Stuggart and Japan, so he can be trusted with high responsibility and lead by example.

The CDM has also played in the World Cup and Champions League, the two highest forms of competition in the game.

CON: He isn’t good enough to replace Fabinho

Waturo Endo

Fabinho had a poor season last year, but he was absolutely vital to all of the success that Liverpool had under Klopp, playing a key role in winning the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, Club World Cup, Super Cup, CCaraboa Cup, and Community Shield.

His performance against Barcelona in 2019 where Anfield witnessed the impossible and Liverpool came back from 3-0 down on aggregate to win 4-0 against a Lionel Messi-led team was nothing short of heroic, and leaves pretty big shoes to fill.

PRO: He is good enough to replace Milner and Henderson

Milner took a lot of stick because of his age, but his fitness, experience and versatility were key weapons in the Reds machine, best highlighted last year when he slotted in at right-back against Man City and played a blinder against the skilful Phil Foden to see Liverpool win 1-0.

The plan was for Henderson to become the new Milner, and play less frequently, but often be deployed to fill gaps in the team, but this was something the Englishman didn’t want, so he left the club.

Endo is perfect for this role because he can play multiple positions, CDM is his preferred choice, he likes to break tackles, win the turnover and launch an attack from deep.

Waturo Endo

CON: He isn’t a glamorous signing

It was a nice feeling for Liverpool fans when they momentarily thought that they were going to be the financial giants for a change and break the British transfer record by signing Caicedo, but Chelsea poured cold water over that rather quickly.

PRO: He’s as cheap as chips

At £17m with add-ons, he’s as cheap as it gets in the relative world of football transfers where ludicrous money is splashed around with ridiculously long contracts being handed out.

Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Fabinho, Cody Gakpo, Luis Diaz, and Diogo Jota were all signings that initially didn’t send fans into a frenzy of excitement but all cost less than £50m individually and have done incredible things for the club.

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