Endo: The Unexpected Hurt of A Departure

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Another January Blow For The Reds

Well for a £16 million pound ‘stop-gap’ option we’d have never expected this eh! As the Premier League season has unfolded, Liverpool’s midfield dynamo, Wataru Endo, has risen from an undervalued asset to a pivotal cog in Jürgen Klopp’s well-oiled machine. His departure to the Asian Cup comes at a critical juncture, leaving a gap not easily filled, even by the capable Alexis Mac Allister. Liverpool not only now have no specialist number six, they’re missing an in-form player.

In-Form During December

If you’re honest then at the commencement of the season, Endo’s role was envisioned primarily in the cup games, providing depth and tactical flexibility. Yet, as the campaign progressed, his statistical footprint became increasingly pronounced. Since December, his regular league appearances have coincided with a period of resurgent form for Liverpool, both collectively and for Endo personally. He was in the man of the match shouts for United and Arsenal.

From Cup Cover To League Starter

The statistics detail the tale of his growing influence: in the Premier League alone, Endo has clocked up 699 minutes across 15 appearances, contributing to five victories. His defensive midfield position belies his contribution to Liverpool’s attack, with his incisive passing and timely interceptions often the starting point of Liverpool’s forward thrusts. Who can forget that screamer against Fulham too. Liverpool’s No.3 has not only been a fixture in the league but has also stamped his authority in the Europa League, with 376 minutes across six appearances, and the EFL Cup with 211 minutes in three games, underscoring his versatility and endurance.

Photo by IMAGO

Passion and Pride Representing Japan

Recent quotes from the Japanese captain himself resonate with humility and commitment, “Yes, a little bit actually,” he commented on his mixed emotions regarding his departure. “But you know I need to play for my national team as well.” His dedication to club and country is admirable, and his intent to return with a “good result” promises an even richer vein of form upon his return. The former Stuttgart man’s recent performances have been key in propelling Liverpool to the zenith of the Premier League, three points clear, a position they’ll be keen to maintain in his absence. The New Year’s Day victory over Newcastle, a game in which Endo played a full 90 minutes, exemplified his importance and how we’d love that Pacific Cup to not be there.

Pressure on Mac Allister Shoulders

For Liverpool, the conundrum now is not only to keep their rhythm intact without Endo but also to replicate the balance he provided. Mac Allister remains the sole closest fit specialist in the defensive midfield role, a responsibility he’ll have to shoulder with the same zeal as his teammate. There’s no sign of Bajcetic back in the near future either. For now, they must navigate without him, holding the fort until he brings his enhanced game back to Merseyside. Who’d have thought we’d be saying all this at this a couple of months ago.

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