Endo Wataru wins first award as Liverpool player

The Japanese performance in the middle of the park for Liverpool has been a joy to watch in the past weeks. Stepping in for injured Mark Alister who was already in fine form for the Reds before sustaining a disappointing injury during their Premier League win at Sheffield United had some fans doubting if Endo would be able to fill in that gap properly.

The Japanese warrior did not just fit into the team, he reminded the fans why he was signed from  Stuttgart for a fee of about £16.2m (19m euros). He repaired his manager’s faith in him by becoming a key part of more controlled Liverpool performances.

The 30-year-old midfielder was an underrated signing because when Liverpool signed Endo in August, there were more than a few eyebrows raised. Many had never heard of him, and even though others who were aware of Endo’s talents spoke highly of him, there was still plenty of surprise that Liverpool deemed him worthy of the famous red shirt.

In the absence of Mac Allister due to injury, Endo started five games in 13 days during the busy festive period, becoming the first outfield player to do so for the club since January 2006.

His showing in the 2-0 win at Burnley on Boxing Day drew particular praise from his manager, who said afterward: “I loved his game, I have to say. It’s a bit of a shame he finds his feet and now he goes to the Asian Cup.”

In Premier League games where Endo has featured at any time, Liverpool have won 11 of 15 (73.3%), scoring 34 goals (2.3 per game) and averaging 2.4 points per game.

His ability to drop deep to defend allows Alexander Arnold the opportunity to move forward which has been seen in Liverpool’s previous games.

Endo started slowly to life at Liverpool In fact, some of his early games were downright bad and it appeared that he was out of his depth.

Jurgen Klopp stuck with him, however, and the holding midfielder is now literally the most consistent part of the starting XI.

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