At half-time of Liverpool’s victory over Leicester on Wednesday night, it felt like we have been witnessing one other insignificant second in Wataru Endo‘s early Anfield profession.
That’s no criticism of the Japanese; most gamers don’t adapt to a brand new membership and a brand new league immediately, and so discover it difficult to make an influence on their preliminary outings.
This may be sophisticated by the modifications any individual would expertise in transferring metropolis, and even nation, with Endo’s spouse and 4 kids solely just lately becoming a member of him on Merseyside.
When that occurs, these first video games within the purple shirt find yourself being little greater than alternatives to be taught, quite than probabilities for the participant to indicate what they’re about – a class it appeared Wednesday’s fixture would fall into for Endo.
If there was any frustration with the 30-year-old midway by this newest begin, it was that there was a well-known tentativeness to his efficiency.
Solely final week, Klopp mentioned of Endo: “Wataru is a brilliant man, very calm and really well mannered and that value him the primary two weeks, possibly. That’s now getting there.”
And in opposition to the Foxes, it appeared that he was once more falling into the entice of permitting the 90 minutes to move him by.
However then the half-time break got here, after which Endo reappeared wanting like a person decided to announce his arrival as a Liverpool participant.
He ended the sport as a key architect in one more come-from-behind 3-1 win for the Reds, managing a match-leading 4 interceptions and a really tidy 90.4 % move completion price.
And, although it might appear odd to spotlight as a optimistic, the 4 fouls he made (greater than some other participant on the pitch) additionally felt encouraging.
The hesitance that Klopp had beforehand commented on was lengthy gone, changed by a combat that maybe confirmed that Endo wears a gum protect for good motive.
This was significantly evident in a crunching deal with on Kiernan Dewsbury-Corridor that was shortly adopted by him establishing Szoboszlai for a shot from vary (considered one of two key passes from Liverpool’s No. 3 on the evening).
There was additionally a cerebral high quality to a lot of his interventions, with each Cody Gakpo‘s purpose and that memorable strike from Szoboszlai coming within the aftermath of Endo being in the precise place on the proper time as Leicester tried to clear.
It’s this mixture of craft and graft that may enable the Japan captain to change into greater than only a go-to starter in secondary cup competitions for Liverpool going ahead.
Given a lot of his first 5 outings for the membership had made it troublesome to envisage such an final result, the sixth felt like a significant step ahead.