Wataru Endo can have “similar impact” to James Milner, says Klopp

Liverpool lost 856 games of experience with James Milner‘s departure alone, a gap in the squad Jurgen Klopp has looked to bridge with Wataru Endo.

During pre-season, Klopp hinted at what he was looking to inject back into the team following the departure of 37-year-old Milner to Brighton.

“How we finished games, it was always James Milner came on, stuff like that, and finished the game pretty much for us in a super-professional way,” Klopp explained.

Well, in Endo that is what Liverpool have delivered with the 30-year-old arriving after 133 games for Stuttgart and a captain of his country and, now former, club.

“This club has a tradition, not a real tradition, but we had one of the biggest LFC legends, of my time at least, with James Milner,” Klopp went on to say.

“He arrived when he was, I think, 29, not that anybody ever underestimated Milly.

“But people said in that time, I’m not sure I was not here when he arrived, he is not a fixed lineup player but can play different positions.

“And I can tell you, without James Milner none of the success of the last years would’ve happened.

“One of the best players and characters I ever met in my life. Wataru can, in a different way, obviously, have a similar impact. I’m really happy he is here.”

Milner made 31 appearances from the bench last season and was a trusted figure for Klopp, who is clearly hopeful he’s found another player who can offer similar traits in Endo.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 20, 2023: Liverpool's James Milner is embraced by manager Jürgen Klopp as he is given a guard of honour after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“On the pitch, he turns into a real monster, he wants to win balls, he wants to fight,” the manager praised. “Plus, he’s able to play football.

“He was on my screen for a long time already and now for some reason, we were able to do it. I, personally, am really happy about it.”

Currently, Endo is free to train with his new team-mates for the very first time on Friday, but the club are still awaiting news on his work permit, which needs to be approved before he can be involved on a matchday.

For now, Alexis Mac Allister will continue in the No. 6 role but from the manager’s first words to his new No. 3, it is obvious how much Liverpool “really need” Endo.