Six things to know about Wataru Endo

FactfileSix things to know about Wataru Endo

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By Glenn Price

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Wataru Endo became Liverpool's third acquisition of the summer transfer window on Friday – find out more about the midfielder with our factfile.

The Japan international completed a switch from Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart to bolster Jürgen Klopp's ranks.

Take a closer look at the Reds' new No.3 with our lowdown below...

Watch Endo's first LFC interview

He's a hugely experienced figure. Endo has more than 400 appearances at club level to his name, having represented four professional teams previously. The 30-year-old started off at Shonan Bellmare and then Urawa Red Diamonds in his homeland, before beginning his European adventure with Belgian outfit Sint-Truiden VV. Endo initially moved to Stuttgart on loan in August 2019, a switch that would later become permanent, and made 133 appearances while in Germany. With Japan, he has a half-century of senior caps to date and featured four times in the 2022 World Cup.

'A really good one' - Jürgen Klopp's reaction to Wataru Endo signing

News'A really good one' - Jürgen Klopp's reaction to Wataru Endo signingJürgen Klopp expressed his delight at Liverpool's acquisition of Wataru Endo from VfB Stuttgart.

A leader for both club and country. Endo has carried the responsibility of the captain's armband multiple times throughout his career so far. He was skipper for Japan at the 2016 Olympics and has led the senior team regularly whenever called upon. He was installed as captain of Stuttgart by then-head coach Pellegrino Matarazzo in July 2021. "It's important for me that our captain can take everyone with him, that he embodies the values we stand for and is an example to follow," Matarazzo said. "I have chosen Wataru Endo because he's also someone who leaves room for other players to take responsibility."

He can play in midfield or defence. Endo will bring versatility to the Reds along with his considerable experience. While often used as an anchoring midfielder, Endo also carries the skillset that allows him to drop in as a centre-back. "He's one of these anchors, a focal point in our system," said former Stuttgart sporting director Sven Mislintat. "Whether he plays as a centre-back or as a defensive midfielder, it's good that he's there and performs."

Topping the charts for tackles. Endo once led the Bundesliga for challenges won for two straight seasons. He totalled 476 in 2020-21 and took top spot again in 2021-22 with 448. Endo won 439 of his tackles last term – ranked fourth-most in the German top flight. Mislintat had referred to him as the 'bodyguard' and 'heartbeat' of the Stuttgart team.

He leaves Stuttgart as a 'legendo'. Endo's role in keeping Stuttgart in the Bundesliga in May 2022 means he will forever be fondly remembered by the supporters he's leaving. The unlikely hero produced a 92nd-minute winner to defeat FC Köln 2-1 and lift his side ahead of Hertha BSC in the standings on goal difference, avoiding the relegation play-off. When he returned home that evening, he found a chalk message from his neighbours' children on his drive that read 'LEGENDO'.

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He'll be the second Japanese player to play for Liverpool's men's team. Endo will follow in the footsteps of Takumi Minamino, who joined the Reds in 2020. By making the move to Merseyside, Endo is fulfilling a long-held ambition of his. In 2021, he said: "It's no secret that playing in the Premier League is a dream of mine. If there was interest from one of the top clubs in England, I would certainly listen."

3 - WATARU ENDO
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