New signing Wataru Endo compared to ‘one of the biggest Liverpool legends’ by Jurgen Klopp

As an alternative of the third most costly footballer in historical past, Liverpool have unveiled the third most costly midfielder they’ve signed this summer time and the third they focused in swift succession. A dizzying week that started with a British file bid for Moises Caicedo ended with Romeo Lavia becoming a member of the Ecuadorian at Stamford Bridge and the arrival of Wataru Endo at Anfield, nearly £100m cheaper than one of the males who most well-liked Chelsea to Liverpool and seemingly out of the blue. This, Jurgen Klopp accepted, was not what number of supporters hoped their seek for a No 6 would go.

“It’s a switch that isn’t in the public eye,” he stated. “It’s not ‘Oh my God!’ and doubtless no one at this second is texting a brand new tune for him.” That stated, although, Klopp did get a textual content from an influential determine in German soccer, congratulating him on the signing of the former VfB Stuttgart captain.

If Caicedo could be billed as the new N’Golo Kante, and never merely as a result of of the Ecuadorian’s selection of membership, Klopp seemed into Liverpool’s current previous for a comparability for his newest purchase. He settled on maybe the most unglamorous determine of their current glory years, James Milner. He urged followers to look past the naked information about Endo – a 30-year-old relegation firefighter in the Bundesliga – and embrace an unlikely addition.

“I understand how soccer followers are, they would favor to usher in a participant who’s £110m,” he stated. Usually when a supervisor pleads {that a} participant shouldn’t be judged on his price ticket, it’s as a result of he’s pricey, not low cost.

“However wait: he has one thing that Liverpool supporters will love, undoubtedly,” added Klopp. “He’s already used to crimson somewhat bit [from Stuttgart], in order that’s good, and when he places that shirt on he’ll throw every part on the pitch and the folks will love that, I do know that. We had this with James Milner somewhat bit. Clearly a barely completely different profile however might you respect James Milner extra for enjoying quarter-hour at the finish and simply closing a recreation down?”

Milner, Klopp added, was “one of the biggest Liverpool legends of my time and arrived right here he was 29”. The German got here to Anfield a couple of months later and since then he had solely signed one outfield participant of their thirties: defender Ragnar Klavan in 2016, additionally from a bottom-half Bundesliga membership. But when Klopp has to persuade the Anfield public Endo will not be too close to the finish, he additionally had to persuade his employers.

Klopp believes Endo can have the same influence to James Milner

(Getty Photographs)

“The best way our homeowners see it he was already too outdated when he joined Stuttgart,” he stated. “The homeowners really need 200 video games at 20 years outdated. That’s fairly troublesome. I didn’t want any variety of convincing. I do know that the greatest time for a soccer participant is from 27 to 33 in a traditional profession.” If Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai conform to the standard mannequin for Liverpool signings in the Fenway Sports activities Group period, Endo is an anomaly.

His new supervisor’s view is that the Japan captain is a younger 30. “Whenever you see him, you suppose ‘is he allowed to drive a automobile?’” Klopp requested. Actually, a four-year contract displays Liverpool’s perception that, like Milner earlier than him, Endo will retain his operating energy deep into his thirties. His age, he feels, is a motive his new recruit was neglected; why he’s the exception to FSG’s rule.

“He’s a late bloomer and he improved yearly since he was on the correct soccer display screen,” he stated. Klopp has at all times savoured an underdog story; for him, there may be a lot to get pleasure from in the means Endo took an extended and winding highway to Liverpool, by way of Shonan Bellmare, Urawa Crimson Diamonds, Sint-Truiden after which Stuttgart. “I’m actually completely happy these variety of tales are nonetheless doable on this loopy world of soccer,” he stated. “It feels excellent.”

And Liverpool undoubtedly feels proper for Endo. “A dream come true,” stated a participant for whom such a transfer would lengthy have appeared totally unrealistic. After Caicedo and Lavia confirmed relatively much less enthusiasm to signal, Klopp grinned as he burdened Liverpool lastly reached an settlement with “the membership and the participant”.

There could be no pretence Endo was Liverpool’s first selection however he sought to handle the notion that desperation dominated. “He was on my record from the starting,” he stated. He had watched Endo since he joined Stuttgart in 2019. He moved for him after Liverpool had simply 35 per cent possession in opposition to Chelsea – “loopy,” Klopp stated – when, in the absence of a specialist defensive midfielder, Mac Allister had to impersonate one. However it was such a shock that even Endo pronounced himself shocked.

He’s the £15m man, not the £115m midfielder. “However in the finish the pitch is the similar dimension,” Klopp stated. “The participant won’t develop with the cash he prices, it’s relatively the different means round.” However even Endo has grown right into a Liverpool participant late in his profession, Klopp is hoping he has a Milner-esque influence for a value a fraction of Caicedo’s.

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