Wataru Endo has shrugged off the initial surprise and criticism surrounding his move from Stuttgart in August, emphasising that he remains unfazed by any skepticism about the deal.
The midfielder expressed his satisfaction after putting in a strong performance in Liverpool’s 5-1 victory over Toulouse on Thursday evening, scoring for the first time since joining the club.
Speaking post-match, Endo told Liverpoolfc.com, “I’m so happy to win this game and, of course, my first goal here too. It was an amazing atmosphere when I scored. I’m so happy to score my first goal for Liverpool, especially at Anfield; it was an amazing experience for me. I just try to do my best in every game, whether I start or not. I did, and I’m just so happy to get the goal tonight.”
At 30 years old Endo raised eyebrows as an unexpected signing for Liverpool, particularly after failed attempts to secure Moises Caicedo as a replacement for Fabinho and Jordan Henderson.
The Japan international acknowledged the criticism surrounding his age and the perception that Liverpool sought younger players, stating, “I understand they say that stuff because I’m 30 years old, and I know Liverpool wanted to sign younger players. But that’s normal. I didn’t care what they said; I just have to do my job.”
Pointing to his performances, Endo said, “Not only today, my performances are getting better and better, and I can see it improving more so I just try to do my job every game.”
Endo joined alongside Alexis Mac Allister, Ryan Gravenberch, and Dominik Szoboszlai during the summer as part of a midfield overhaul. Mac Allister is currently the preferred option in the number six role for Jurgen Klopp, but Endo appreciates the learning opportunity.
“Macca is more offensive, but defensively he always tries to do it better. I can learn a lot of things from him, and I think it’s a good balance between me and Macca.”
The jury will remain out on Endo for a while longer, especially as Klopp still seems reluctant to use him against the toughest opponents. There can be no questioning the player’s attitude though, and a few more performances like his last may silence any critics.