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Endō Exclusive: A look back on his first season in Red

PlayersEndō Exclusive: A look back on his first season in Red

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The Japanese international midfielder reflects on his first season as a Liverpool FC player, winning the Carabao Cup and saying goodbye to Jürgen Klopp in this exclusive interview with LFC Official Membership

Wataru, how did you find your first season of playing in the Premier League and in front of Liverpool FC supporters?

I think we had a good season and I really enjoyed playing for a good club in front of really good fans. We always have great support, even when it is an away game, and I play for them. They always try to support us and I just want to try to win for them. I love them.

It was always my dream to play Premier League so I am so happy to be here and I really enjoyed playing Premier League this season. It is really different to play Premier League, but I tried to adapt and always tried to give my best on the pitch. I tried to think about how I can improve more and more and I very much enjoyed it.

You won your first trophy when Liverpool FC beat Chelsea FC to lift the Carabao Cup, but it wasn’t to be in the Premier League or UEFA Europa League. How do you reflect on things?

I think in the Carabao Cup final we could show how Liverpool has belief on the pitch. Even though we had so many young players on the pitch at the end they also knew how they had to deal with it. So I think it was kind of - how do I say? - Liverpool’s way to play. I was so happy to win that title.

Of course, we wanted more titles but the way we played the whole season I think we can say it was a great season. A lot of new players came in, including me, so it was going to be a tough season from the first game. We had a lot of injuries and a lot of matches so it was really difficult to keep our quality at a high level, but I think we had a good season and qualifying for Champions League was a good step for us.

We needed to go back to Champions League after playing Europa League this season so I am glad to get that result and hopefully next season we will get even better results.

How do you feel about Jürgen Klopp’s departure as Liverpool FC manager?

I was in Qatar playing in the Asian Cup and it was a surprise for me when I heard it. I only played with the boss for one year, but it was an amazing season for me.

I just wanted to play for him this season and I really wanted to keep playing for him, but I think the boss did so many things for Liverpool and decided it was time to take a rest and I respect his decision.

I was watching the Bundesliga when he was in Dortmund and I was impressed with how he played. Now I have played for him and it was like a dream to play for him. I’m so happy to have done that.

What was he like to play for and how positive are you about the future for LFC?

It is very tough to play how he wanted to play, but I think it was what I needed to improve as a player. He always knew that I could do more and more and was great with me..

I came here as a defensive midfielder and he already knew my potential to play Premier League. He always tried to give me some advice to play Premier League so I could improve and I just want to thank him. He’s the guy who trusted me from day one.

What the boss has created is amazing. There is a lot of potential to improve more and I think we will be able to play better.

You say there is potential for improvement, but on a personal level how do you improve next season?

I think I have played better and better and that’s what I tried to do on the pitch. I can say I had a good season, but I wanted two more titles and I can improve.

I think I can improve everything, offensively and defensively. After every game I always think about what I could have done better, offensively and defensively, and how I can improve.

Players always have to think about what they can do for the club or how they can improve. That’s what I always think about because that’s how you become a champion.

Finally, Japan has qualified for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games and you played in the 2020 tournament, delayed until 2021, in Tokyo. What was that experience like for you?

I was so happy to be selected. To be an Olympian is a goal for young players because they might think if they play well in the Olympics they can move, maybe, because it is the biggest crowd [most watched sporting event] in the world. So I think it is a goal to play at the Olympics.

I played in Tokyo. Unfortunately nobody could come to the games because of the coronavirus, but to play in Tokyo, in my country, was a very nice experience for me. To play for my country is very special.

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