“We will work on that” – Klopp admits Wataru Endo area for improvement

Jurgen Klopp has described Wataru Endo as a “machine” but admits he has held meetings with the player to make tactical tweaks to his game.

Liverpool were without a recognised defensive midfielder prior to the arrival of the Japan captain, who signed from Stuttgart for around £16.25 million.

He was immediately thrown in at the deep end, coming on against Bournemouth just 24 hours after joining the club with the Reds already down to 10 men.

Endo went on to make his first start in the dramatic 2-1 victory away at Newcastle, where Liverpool also went a man down following Virgil van Dijk‘s early dismissal.

Klopp insists it will take time for the 30-year-old to adjust to life at Anfield and admits he has held “meetings” with Endo about his positional awareness.

“For Endo it is a massive step and change in the way he used to play so that needs a bit of time to get there but it is no problem,” explained the boss in previewing the Aston Villa clash, as quoted by the Independent.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 19, 2023: Liverpool's Wataru Endo during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“We are a counter-pressing team still with all the possession and stuff, and that means you have to be in specific positions. And you can see in moments where he is slightly too deep.

“I’ve had meetings with him and we will work on that. He wants to do it 100 per cent right, and you can see in training when the spaces are smaller, he is a machine.”

Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai both enjoyed full pre-season schedules with the squad having joined earlier in the window, something that Endo and new arrival Ryan Gravenberch haven’t enjoyed the luxury of.

Klopp conceded that the early circumstances haven’t been straightforward for Endo and that his progress has been stunted having joined later than his peers.

“Can you have a more difficult start than playing twice with 10 men for such a long time? Probably not. We are getting there.

PRESTON, ENGLAND - Monday, August 7, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and SV Darmstadt 98 at Deepdale. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“He didn’t have a pre-season and that’s the biggest difference between him and the other two new boys. They had the pre-season with us and it changes everything.

“He just needs training and everything will be fine.”

The implication that Endo isn’t quite ready will concern supporters as he is the squad’s only specialist No. 6 and should theoretically bring vast experience at 30.

The midfielder is in line to make his first Anfield start this Sunday and will be hoping to make a positive impression as he continues to settle into a Klopp midfield.