DOHA, QATAR - Sunday, November 27, 2022: Japan's Wataru Endo during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Japan and Costa Rica at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium. Costa Rica won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool make surprise move for midfielder Wataru Endo

Liverpool have made contact with German side Stuttgart over a surprise move for Japan captain Wataru Endo.

The 30-year-old, who can play as both a centre-back and in defensive midfield, has emerged as a surprise target for the Reds as they look to bolster both positions.

This Is Anfield understands that Liverpool are pursuing a deal for the midfielder after missing out on Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia in the last few days.

Endo has made over 100 appearances for Stuttgart, where he is club captain, having arrived from Sint-Truiden in 2019.

He also boasts 50 international caps and was a key part of his country’s squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The player’s contract expires next summer, so Liverpool and sporting director Jorge Schmadtke are hoping to seal a low-budget acquisition.

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 26: Wataru Endo of Japan speaks during the Japan Press Conference at the Main Media Center on November 26, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Mohamed Farag/FIFA)

“Warrior and leader” – Endo is highly regarded in Germany

The player is said to see a move to Anfield at this stage in his career as an opportunity he wishes to pursue.

According to Transfermarkt, the player could have a release clause of just £1.45 million, but more reliable sources have claimed a potential release clause of €24.3 million.

Endo’s versatility, leadership qualities – captain for club and country – and professional attitude will no doubt draw comparisons with one midfielder who left Liverpool this summer in James Milner.

Jurgen Klopp said earlier this summer: “James Milner always came on and finished the game off. We have to have players for that role.”

In Endo, Klopp appears to have got his Milner replacement.