Jurgen Klopp has suggested that Wataru Endo could be due for an extended stay on the bench, at the very least as far as Liverpool’s league campaign is currently concerned.
The 55-year-old was questioned about the Japan skipper after the Reds recorded a 3-1 win over West Ham, with the former explaining that his summer signing should be considered a long-term project after only emerging for an extremely brief cameo at Anfield.
“He needs to get used to things here. Wataru is a super guy, very calm and very polite,” the German told reporters in comments shared on Empire’s X account.
“That cost him the first two weeks maybe. That’s now getting there. He’s not dirty or whatever and wants to get people out of the way to get into the team but he’s every day improving.
“You saw that today, he’s there and he will help us a lot. He will play games, start games and all these kinds of things. All good.
“He had already three or four games for us in a very short period. That’s the only thing that counts, it’s not a short-term project.”
At 30 years of age, that statement may inspire a few comical smiles from the fanbase, especially given the existence of notably younger operators on Merseyside of the likes of Curtis Jones (22) and Alexis Mac Allister (24).
Regardless, that shouldn’t set off alarm bells just yet over the player’s future in the squad.
We’re sure many a supporter will recall just how long it took former No.6 Fabinho to bed in at Liverpool, with Klopp known for taking his time with certain players where he feels it’s a requirement.
Still, we can understand why there might be a few raised eyebrows after the manager was spotted on camera speaking to Endo about how greatly he was needed at L4 to play a defensive role in an incredibly top-heavy side.
We’ve admittedly got by pretty well without a natural holding midfielder in place, though one has to imagine that the former Stuttgart man will surely have a more important role to play in the side as the season progresses.