Wataru Endo was spotted sharing a jocular nine-word quip with reporters who’d assembled in the mixed zone after Liverpool’s victory over West Ham on Sunday.
The Japanese midfielder, who joined the Reds from Stuttgart last month, has made five appearances for the club so far, albeit with just the one start in the Premier League (Transfermarkt).
In his latest Covering Liverpool Substack column, Neil Jones noted how the 30-year-old was in jovial form following the weekend’s win over the Irons but will be eyeing up a start in Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup clash against Leicester.
The journalist wrote: “Endo was all smiles as he came through the mixed zone after the West Ham game – ‘you don’t want to speak to me today, no?’ he joked with reporters – but he knows there is serious business to be done if he is to take advantage of this unexpected career move. Leicester would be the perfect place to start.”
Endo was something of a surprise signing when he came in from Stuttgart in August, with the 30-year-old not fitting the age profile of most new additions at Liverpool during Jurgen Klopp’s managerial reign.
However, his arrival did at least plug the glaring void in terms of an experienced defensive midfielder following the unexpected departure of Fabinho to Al-Ittihad a couple of weeks earlier, with the subsequent recruitment of Ryan Gravenberch also helping to beef up our options at number 6.
From his exchange with Jones and other reporters after the win over West Ham, the Japan international seems to be an affable character who’s already forged some good relationships with teammates and media.
However, he knows that he faces some stern competition for places in Liverpool’s midfield, and behind his friendly exterior, he’ll be gunning to prove a point to Klopp every time he plays. Matches such as the Carabao Cup tie against Leicester should provide him with the ideal opportunity to do so.
Even if he isn’t to be a regular starter this season, Endo could still have a very important part to play in the squad, something the manager has openly acknowledged.