Wataru Endo returns to Liverpool earlier than expected due to ‘unforeseen’ circumstances

Posted by

Wataru Endo is returning to Liverpool earlier than expected during the international break, but thankfully it isn’t anything injury-related.

The 31-year-old was due to play two fixtures for Japan this week, a 2026 World Cup qualifying double header against North Korea, although the second of those matches has been postponed in a bizarre turn of events.

FOLLOW Empire of the Kop on Instagram (@empireofthekop) HERE

A statement from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) read that the fixture, which the Koreans were due to host next Tuesday, ‘will not take place as scheduled due to unforeseen circumstances’.

That decision, which was ‘taken in consultation with FIFA and relevant stakeholders’, ‘comes after the AFC was informed on March 20 by the DPR Korea Football Association of the need to move the match to a neutral venue due to unavoidable circumstances’.

READ MORE: ‘Why not…’ – Liverpool-supporting 26y/o would jump at Anfield move if the opportunity comes up

READ MORE: (Video) Ex-Liverpool trio send heartfelt messages to Sven-Goran Eriksson ahead of Legends match

The ambiguous wording behind the postponement leaves us scratching our head as to the exact reason for it being called off, but the curious development has worked out well for Liverpool, as it means Endo will be back on Merseyside with a full week to prepare for Brighton’s visit to Anfield next weekend.

The midfielder came on as a 58th-minute substitute in Japan’s 1-0 win over North Korea in Tokyo on Thursday (Sofascore), meaning he had quite a sizeable distance to travel for little more than half an hour of football.

Nonetheless, having him back earlier than anticipated provides an unexpected yet welcome boost for Jurgen Klopp ahead of a relentless and pivotal run-in to the Reds’ season, with two trophies still on the line.

The flip side is that the postponed World Cup qualifier may need to be played at a later date, although hopefully that’ll be in the summer when Endo’s club commitments are out of the way until the commencement of pre-season in July.

For now, we’re just glad to have him back early, even if it’s due to bizarre circumstances.

EOTK Close-up with Gregory Vignal: LFC Legends with Eriksson, Klopp’s successor & more

More Stories Japan North Korea Wataru Endo