Klopp: “We Were So Lucky to Miss Out on Lavia”

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Endo’s Impending Departure: A Challenge for Klopp’s Liverpool

Liverpool is set to face a significant test as Wataru Endo departs for the Asian Cup after a pivotal clash with Newcastle United on New Year’s Day. The surprise signing from VfB Stuttgart for a fee of £16.2m back in August, after Liverpool’s misses on Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia, raised many an eyebrow. Despite a slow start, Endo’s recent form has seen him become an integral part of Klopp’s setup, especially with injuries and departures shaking the Reds’ midfield.

The Midfield Conundrum: From Scrutiny to Praise

Liverpool’s midfield has undergone a transformation under Klopp’s guidance. Alexis Mac Allister, initially under scrutiny alongside Endo, has grown into his role as a holding midfielder. His performances, particularly the impressive outing against Man City, highlighted his adaptability and potential. However, an injury halted his progress, leaving room for Endo to shine. The Japanese international’s performances, especially against Arsenal, have been a testament to Klopp’s strategic nous in the face of adversity.

Klopp’s Midfield Strategy: A Blend of Talent and Opportunity

Klopp’s approach to Liverpool’s midfield dilemma has been both innovative and opportunistic. The use of Trent Alexander-Arnold as a midfield option and the anticipated return of Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic from injury promise a dynamic and versatile midfield. Yet, Endo’s absence during the Asian Cup, potentially missing crucial matches, poses a challenge that his squad must navigate. Despite this Klopp was brutally honest recently at a test event in Anfield:

“In the summer, the summer we had when a few strange things happened in the transfer market. But here between us, I can say my God were we lucky, eh? We didn’t know that in the moment, it didn’t feel like it in that moment. But, meh. I’m really happy that it worked out like that.”

“You never know before, but I had a really good feeling before we started pre-season. Clear we had two already with Macca (Alexis Mac Allister) and Dom (Dominik Szoboszlai) in, and we knew there was a chance for Ryan (Gravenberch). Then we obviously realised other central defensive midfielders don’t want to join Liverpool (laughs). You see what happens!”

Photo by IMAGO

“And then we found (Wataru) Endo. He’s an exceptional player, he is, absolutely. He’s 30 years old and an experienced captain of Japan. It’s not possible to be the first pick because the transfer market is not like that. We don’t go for a 30-year-old player who plays in Germany and nearly got relegated. Thank God we looked about things twice and had another look. Then it was clear we wanted this boy, and he wanted to come, definitely, and that helps…”

Adapting to Change: Liverpool’s Midfield Resilience

The chaotic summer transfer window, which saw Liverpool miss out on primary targets only to secure Endo, has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Klopp’s humorous reflections on the transfer saga underline a fortunate turn of events, with Liverpool sitting comfortably at the top of the Premier League. Despite the challenges, Liverpool’s adaptability and strategic signings have positioned them well, showing resilience and depth in their squad.

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