Wataru Endo: Adapting to Premier League with Liverpool ‘harder than I thought’

The Japan international arrived as part of a complete overhaul of Liverpool’s midfield in the summer

Carl Markham
Saturday 02 December 2023 12:47 GMT
<p>Wataru Endo has opened up on his initial experiences in the Premier League </p>

Wataru Endo has opened up on his initial experiences in the Premier League

Liverpool summer signing Wataru Endo has found the Premier League more difficult than he expected but is confident he can improve and contribute more.

The 30-year-old Japan international, a £12million arrival from Stuttgart, was viewed as something of a stop-gap solution to the club’s lack of defensive midfielders following Fabinho’s unexpected departure to Saudi Arabia.

Of his 15 appearances so far, only two have been Premier League starts (against Newcastle and Brentford), with manager Jurgen Klopp preferring to utilise Argentina World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister in an unfamiliar holding role.

Endo has gained most of his game time in the Europa League and Carabao Cup and his late arrival – he was signed in mid-August – did not help his integration.

“Yes, it’s harder than I thought, but I’m very happy to be here,” he said when asked about his experience of the Premier League so far.

Endo has not adapted seamlessley to life in the Premier League so far

“Physically, it’s speedy, so it’s very hard to adapt but it’s the Premier League and I keep trying and keep playing and I’ll get better.

“I’m already 30 years old but I feel I have a chance to grow as a football player so I’m so happy to be here and I can improve.

“After I got here I had a talk with the boss about how Liverpool play. After that I just try to do that and he talks a lot with me about it.

It's harder than I thought. Physically, it's speedy, so it's very hard to adapt but it's the Premier League

Liverpool midfielder Wataru Endo

“Every time I try to help Liverpool play and of course I always watch what they do from the bench. I think it is an important thing and I am getting better and better.”

Endo’s start to life at Anfield was not helped by the fact as the only holding midfielder there was a lot of attention on him to slot straight into the side and perform a similar role to the one that 30-year-old Fabinho did for five years.

In addition, Liverpool’s midfield underwent a complete overhaul in the summer with Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai and Ryan Gravenberch now looking like the established first choices.

But with nine matches to come this month, Endo is likely to get more opportunities.

“I’m always ready to play every game, that’s the most important thing. We need all the players so I try to be ready every game and try to win every game,” he added.

“Liverpool has a very winning mentality so we always need to win, need to get three points, and it’s a very difficult thing but that’s why I came here. I’m enjoying the pressure.

“I’m a defensive midfielder so I have to make a difference in defence but also to take up good positions and play good football. I’m enjoying playing with amazing players.”

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