Liverpool summer signing Wataru Endo admits adapting to the physicality of the Premier League has been 'harder than he thought' but vows to have an impact on Jurgen Klopp's side
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Liverpool summer signing Wataru Endo admits adapting to the physicality of the Premier League has been 'harder than he thought' but vows to have an impact on Jurgen Klopp's side

Dec 16, 2023
  • Wataru Endo has said it has been ‘hard’ adapting to life in the Premier League 
  • The midfielder joined the club for £12m in August as a replacement for Fabinho  
  •  We expected perfection from VAR – we haven’t got it: Listen to It’s All Kicking Off

Liverpool summer signing Wataru Endo has found the Premier League more difficult than he expected but is confident he can improve and contribute more.

The 30-year-old Japan international, a £12million arrival from Stuttgart, was viewed as something of a stop-gap solution to the club’s lack of defensive midfielders following Fabinho‘s unexpected departure to Saudi Arabia.

Of his 15 appearances so far, only two have been Premier League starts (against Newcastle and Brentford), with manager Jurgen Klopp preferring to utilise Argentina World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister in an unfamiliar holding role.

Endo has gained most of his game time in the Europa League and Carabao Cup and his late arrival – he was signed in mid-August – did not help his integration.

‘Yes, it’s harder than I thought, but I’m very happy to be here,’ he said when asked about his experience of the Premier League so far.

Wataru Endo has opened up on his transition to the Premier League, claiming getting up to speed with the physicality of the top-flight has been 'harder than he thought'

Wataru Endo has opened up on his transition to the Premier League, claiming getting up to speed with the physicality of the top-flight has been ‘harder than he thought’

He joined Jurgen Klopp's side earlier this summer but has only started twice in the Premier League, having made eight appearances for Liverpool

He joined Jurgen Klopp’s side earlier this summer but has only started twice in the Premier League, having made eight appearances for Liverpool 

He was signed as a replacement for Fabinho who joined Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad

He was signed as a replacement for Fabinho who joined Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad 

‘Physically, it’s speedy, so it’s very hard to adapt but it’s the Premier League and I keep trying and keep playing and I’ll get better.

‘I’m already 30 years old but I feel I have a chance to grow as a football player so I’m so happy to be here and I can improve.

‘After I got here I had a talk with the boss about how Liverpool play. After that I just try to do that and he talks a lot with me about it.

‘Every time I try to help Liverpool play and of course I always watch what they do from the bench. I think it is an important thing and I am getting better and better.’

Endo’s start to life at Anfield was not helped by the fact as the only holding midfielder there was a lot of attention on him to slot straight into the side and perform a similar role to the one that 30-year-old Fabinho did for five years.

In addition, Liverpool’s midfield underwent a complete overhaul in the summer with Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai and Ryan Gravenberch now looking like the established first choices.

While Endo is a defensive midfielder, Klopp has previously opted to drop Alexis Mac Allister into the holding position instead of Japan international

While Endo is a defensive midfielder, Klopp has previously opted to drop Alexis Mac Allister into the holding position instead of Japan international

But Endo claims he is improving and is relishing the pressure of playing in the top-flight

But Endo claims he is improving and is relishing the pressure of playing in the top-flight

But with nine matches to come this month, Endo is likely to get more opportunities.

‘I’m always ready to play every game, that’s the most important thing. We need all the players so I try to be ready every game and try to win every game,’ he added.

‘Liverpool has a very winning mentality so we always need to win, need to get three points, and it’s a very difficult thing but that’s why I came here. I’m enjoying the pressure.

‘I’m a defensive midfielder so I have to make a difference in defence but also to take up good positions and play good football. I’m enjoying playing with amazing players.’

IT’S ALL KICKING OFF! 

It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

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