Liverpool have a player destined to come alive after Wataru Endo transfer – opinion

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Little has been made of the Wataru Endo transfer in some corners of the Liverpool fanbase, with many having dreamed of big names like Moises Caicedo and Aurelien Tchouameni.

It wasn’t to be for either; the former joined Chelsea despite the Reds’ late hijack attempt and Real Madrid were never going to part ways with a talent who, despite failing to consistently shine in his debut season, is still one of the most exciting defensive midfielders in world football.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be the end of the world for Jurgen Klopp’s men. We don’t have to throw around accusations questioning the club’s pull in the market. It happens, we move on.

Sometimes in the process, we pick up a surprise gem no one really saw coming.

Honestly, how many fans knew right away that the likes of Gini Wijnaldum and Andy Robertson, both hailing from relegated clubs at the time, would turn out to be the global superstars they became? Very few, one might wager.

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Wataru Endo at 30 years of age may be pushing the boat out a little further beyond that norm, admittedly. However, if the Japanese international can plug the Fabinho-sized hole in the boat and help steer it onwards toward the return of Champions League football, so be it.

We should, perhaps, be looking further afield at the impact the former Stuttgart skipper could have on his new midfield teammates.

Dominik Szoboszlai seems the most obvious beneficiary of Liverpool gaining a genuine holding midfielder given his attacking tendencies, brilliantly displayed in a classy outing against Bournemouth the prior weekend.

One name that shouldn’t be forgotten in all of this, however, is that of Alexis Mac Allister, a World Cup winner signed for an astonishingly paltry £35m – he’s worth double that in actuality (sorry, Brighton).

Whilst not a like-for-like replacement for our under-appreciated Dutch midfielder, Gini Wijnaldum, the pair do share one stark trait in their ability to help control a game without always actively signalling they are doing so in the casual eye test.

Mac Allister’s natural game is a bit more blatant by contrast, with many a fan taking a shine to his reliability on the ball throughout pre-season and beyond.

Where the former Seagulls star will truly thrive for Liverpool this season will be in a slightly more advanced role between Szoboszlai and Endo, influencing proceedings in the final third with his superb link-up play and driving runs.

FBref certainly indicates as much, with the player registering in the 85th percentile for shot-creating actions (defined as ‘two offensive actions directly leading to a shot, such as passes, take-ons and drawing fouls’) and the 87th percentile for successful take-ons.

Breaking that down compared to the squad last term, no other midfielder came close to Mac Allister’s 106 shot-creating actions, with Harvey Elliott in second-place with 75 followed closely by Jordan Henderson with 72.

That said, the former Fulham Academy graduate did impress against the former Boca man’s record of 3.30 shot-creating actions per 90 last term, amassing an insane total of 4.19 from just under 18 90s played.

Either way, our first signing of the summer should be one to watch higher up the pitch should Wataru Endo be trusted to hold down the fort this term on a regular basis and unshackle his midfield teammates.

#Ep86 of The Empire of the Kop Podcast: EOTK Insider with Neil Jones🎙️

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1 Comment

  1. Kind of sums up where the football club is heading under FSG.
    Getting excited over a 30 year old Japanese player.
    At best he’s a replacement for milner. He doesn’t improve anything.
    Henderson fabinho and Salah is next to go.

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