John Aldridge shared his surprise at not seeing Wataru Endo in the starting-XI for Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Brighton.
The Japanese international didn’t have a part to play for the entire 90 minutes on the South Coast.
“Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Brighton was further evidence that Mac Allister is not suited as the holding midfielder, not that we required another reminder. I thought the game was made for Endo, but we never saw him,” the 65-year-old wrote in his column for the Echo.
“First half we were struggling badly and didn’t defend well. If you’ve got a holding midfielder in the team, who knows that job, it doesn’t half help. Brighton played on that, especially in the opening half.
“Mac Allister should be ten yards further up the pitch because he is a really good player who creates things. He will play in the No.6 role because he is being asked to, but it is not natural to him. I know people blamed him for the goal, but Virgil put him at risk with that pass to begin with. We can’t be taking chances like that.”
It was certainly a surprising reality to contend with given that Jurgen Klopp had brought the former Stuttgart skipper off against Royal Union Saint-Gilloise at the half-time mark.
The German tactician slowly filtering in certain players in the squad is nothing new – we’ve seen as much with Fabinho and Andy Robertson, to name a couple of examples, following their respective moves from Monaco and Hull City.
The man our 56-year-old tactician described as a ‘machine’ (as reported on Liverpool’s YouTube channel), however, should very much have a bigger part to play throughout the campaign, particularly should we opt not to add another defensive midfielder to our ranks in January.
With the Brazilian top-flight drawing to a close in December, of course, that may be too much to hope for as far as Endo is concerned, should we continue to hold interest in the Fluminense midfielder.