Who is Wataru Endo? Everything you need to know about Liverpool’s new midfielder

Liverpool have undergone a major midfield revamp this summer, which was perhaps always on the cards following the difficult season the club had last time out.

The Reds fell short in various competitions, with Jurgen Klopp often let down by his midfield due to injuries and poor form, and it is an area he has targeted in the current transfer window.

First and foremost, it was England superstar Jude Bellingham that had the strongest links to the Merseyside club, but those rumours were later quashed when the central midfield star signed a long-term deal with Spanish giants Real Madrid.

More recently, the Reds tried to bring in both Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia from Brighton and Southampton respectively.

But again they were unsuccessful, this time with their Premier League rivals Chelsea seemingly swooping in and stealing both players from under their noses.

Klopp has, however, got an ace up his sleeve in the form of Stuttgart midfielder Wataru Endo, who has agreed personal terms with the Merseyside club, according to transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano.

Endo would represent the club’s third signing of the summer, and indeed their third midfield signing, with Dominik Szoboszlai joining from RB Leipzig and Alexis Mac Allister arriving from Brighton.

Who is Wataru Endo?

Endo captains German club Stuttgart, where he made 40 appearances in all competitions last season. A total of 35 of those came in the Bundesliga as his club narrowly avoided relegation to the second tier by defeating Hamburg in a play-off.

Capable of operating in both defensive and central midfield, the 30-year-old Japanese international registered tallies of six goals and five assists last time out.

The skipper should be more than ready for action at Anfield, having already played for Stuttgart this season in their DFB-Pokal match with TSG Balingen, where he played 90 minutes and scored in the 4-0 win.

At international level, Endo made Japan’s 2022 World Cup squad, with his nation defeating both Germany and Spain in the group stages in Qatar before a Round of 16 defeat to Croatia.

The 30-year-old boasts 50 appearances for the Asian country, while at club level Endo has made 133 for Stuttgart, having previously represented the likes of Sint-Truiden and Shonan Bellmare of Belgium and Japan respectively.

Photo by Icon Sport

Where will Endo play for Liverpool?

Given Klopp’s clear desire for a defensive midfielder following his unsuccessful pursuits of both Caicedo and Lavia, it seems that Endo could slot straight into that role at Liverpool.

The Reds went with Mac Allister in that position in their Premier League opener against Chelsea, but the Argentine is expected to be pushed further forward if and when a more defensive-minded player arrives.

Endo looks set to be that player, taking over from Fabinho, who starred in the role for several years before his switch to Saudi Pro League club Al-Ittihad this summer.

Klopp has also lost Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from his midfield in the current transfer window.

The likes of Thiago and youngster Stefan Bajcetic remain at Anfield and are capable of playing in that position, but both remain away from first-team action due to injuries.