LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 27, 2023: Liverpool's Wataru Endo during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Wataru Endo vows to “keep trying” after best Liverpool performance yet

Wataru Endo produced his best performance in a Liverpool shirt yet as he started for the first time at Anfield in Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Leicester.

A surprise signing from Stuttgart, there have been reservations over Endo since his £16 million move to Merseyside towards the end of the summer.

That wasn’t helped by a shaky showing against LASK in the Europa League, but the Japan captain was much improved as he returned to the side to face Leicester.

On his first start at Anfield, Endo was heavily involved throughout, with more defensive actions than any other Liverpool player (10), per FotMob, and the most aerial duels won from either side (three).

Harvey Elliott, with 13, was the only player to make more passes into the final third than his 11, which included the assist for Dominik Szoboszlai‘s wonder strike.

It was a display that may have changed perceptions over Endo’s start to life at Anfield, but the 30-year-old was reserved in his assessment.

“Next round [reached]. I’m happy to play in my first starting 11 at Anfield!” the midfielder wrote on Twitter.

“I will keep trying.”

His final four words are characteristic of the hard-working player he was lauded as by Bundesliga experts upon his switch from Germany.

It is an attitude that should stand him in good stead as he begins life on Merseyside, with fierce competition for places in Jurgen Klopp‘s new-look midfield.

LINZ, AUSTRIA - Thursday, September 21, 2023: Liverpool's Wataru Endo applauds the supporters after the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 1 game between LASK and Liverpool FC at the Raiffeisen Arena. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While Alexis Mac Allister is firmly in place as first-choice No. 6, with Liverpool fighting on four fronts this season, more rotation can be expected.

Endo has now started in both the Europa League and the League Cup, and can be expected to do so again when the Reds host Union SG in their next Group E clash on October 5.

On the basis of his first full 90 minutes at Anfield, there should be no concerns if he does so.