Liverpool fan favourite Wataru Endo celebrates his 31st birthday today.
Have a great birthday, Wataru 🥳 pic.twitter.com/4JCVhvgteZ
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 9, 2024
The Japanese midfielder has made a god start to his Liverpool career, chipping in with several great performances and even a goal.
The £16.25 million signing was met with apprehension on social media when Liverpool lost out on targets Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia. However, his heart on the sleeve performances at Stuttgart impressed Jurgen Klopp enough to bring in the midfielder as the final stage of his Liverpool revamp.
He took time to adjust to English football registering minutes off the bench. An injury to Alexis Mac Allister offered the chance for Endo to show the Liverpool faithful what he was made of.
Endo’s defensive minded performances allow for Liverpool’s more technical players to flourish. He covers the space left behind Trent-Alexander-Arnold allowing for more creativity down the right-hand side. With Endo on the pitch this season, Liverpool’s goals conceded per game drops from 1.08 to 0.43, a staggering improvement.
Along with his defensive performances, the midfielder has contributed to three goals scoring one in spectacular fashion against Fulham. In the summer, Liverpool lost two of their most experienced players and this is another reason Endo has been so influential. The 31-year-old has bags of experience as a captain of his country. He has even earnt the nickname ‘The Japanese Samurai’ amongst the Reds.
Endo’s exit in January for the Asia Cup was a huge worry for the club; a testament to how his role in the squad had grown before Christmas. Following Japan’s exit from the Asia Cup he is back on Merseyside and ready to be a key part in Liverpool’s quadruple charge.
In his career so far, Endo has been known for his trustworthy and consistent performances earning him the captaincy at his last club too. This hasn’t stopped for the Reds and he has repeatedly offered good performances for Klopp.
Injuries to Dominik Szoboszlai and Thiago Alcântara mean Endo will most likely be thrown into the thick of it. His squeaky-clean injury record and bags of experience mean he could be huge for the Reds in the second half of the season.