Liverpool ‘not planning’ to sign another “specialist” defensive midfielder

Liverpool are reportedly not looking to add another defensive midfielder to the squad this summer following the arrival of Wataru Endo last week.

The signing of the Japan captain raised some eyebrows given the age of the midfielder and the relatively low fee.

Jurgen Klopp has conducted major surgery on his midfield area this summer, with five senior players making way for Alexis Mac Allister, Domink Szoboszlai and more recently Endo himself.

The Athletic‘s James Pearce has now indicated that Endo will represent the conclusion of Liverpool’s business in the middle of park, adding that the expectation is that he has “been bought to start matches.”

Pearce wrote on the club’s transfer situation: “As things stand, Liverpool don’t intend to recruit another specialist No 6 this summer – another sign of how highly Klopp regards Endo. He’s been bought to start matches.

Liverpool’s Stefan Bajcetic, watched by manager Jurgen Klopp, warms up prior to the Emirates FA Cup third-round replay match at Molineux Picture date: Tuesday January 17, 2023.

“With Stefan Bajcetic returning to the matchday squad on Saturday after five months out injured, the teenager is viewed as a suitable alternative in that role.”

The story comes amid plenty of noise around a rumoured pursuit of Bayern Munich’s Ryan Gravenberch.

The Dutchman has been tentatively linked with a move to Anfield throughout the summer having fallen out of favour with manager Thomas Tuchel at the German champions.

Pearce added fuel to those particular rumours by adding that the Reds remain interested in signing a “multi-functional midfielder” and that Gravenberch is still thought to be an option, although he is still viewed as being “not for sale” as things stand.

“What Liverpool are still in the market for, however, is another multi-functional midfielder. They have a long-standing interest in Ryan Gravenberch but Bayern Munich’s stance all summer has been that he’s not for sale.”

SINGAPORE - Wednesday, August 2, 2023: Bayern Munich's substitute Ryan Gravenberch before a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and FC Bayern Munich FC at the Singapore National Stadium. Bayern won 4-3. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s failure to land targets Romeo Lavia and Moises Caicedo had prompted fans to believe that significant money was available for high-profile signings given the money that was offered.

Endo’s fee was reportedly in the region of £16.25 million and comes just over a week after the club agreed a £110 million deal with Brighton for Caicedo.

The Ecuadorian ultimately opted for a switch to Stamford Bridge over Anfield, but the size of the deal suggested that Liverpool were willing to spend big if and when opportunities presented themselves.

Whether Endo’s arrival truly is the summer’s final No. 6 signing remains to be seen, with many calling for further reinforcement in that area while reports earlier in the window also indicated that the Reds were in the market for a defender.