Jurgen Klopp believes ‘late bloomer’ Wataru Endo can have a ‘similar impact’ to James Milner at Liverpool.
Liverpool have completed the signing of the Japan midfielder from Stuttgart as the Reds look to reinforce their defensive midfield options.
The move for the 30-year-old came as a surprise, but Klopp has backed Endo to provide experience to a squad that has seen the likes of Milner, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson depart this summer.
“He’s a late bloomer, he was definitely underestimated but he has improved every year since he has been in a proper football setting,” Klopp said at a pre-match press conference ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Bournemouth.
“When he came to Stuttgart he got an opportunity and never gave it away. He now has 50 caps for Japan. For me, when I saw him there’s no chance I thought he was 30.
“On the pitch, he’s a monster and wants to fight. He has been on my screen for a while. I’m personally really happy and now lets start working.
“No one underestimated [James] Milner when he arrived, I think at 29, I can tell you we wouldn’t have enjoyed success in recent years without him. [Wataru] Endo, in a different way, can have a similar impact.”
Klopp refused to confirm whether Endo would feature tomorrow, but believes his side will benefit from the Japanese midfielder’s defensive work.
“[Wataru] Endo is in and will train this afternoon but I don’t know if he can play tomorrow.
[Stefan] Bajcetic and Thiago aren’t ready just yet. We have solutions for our midfield problems but they just aren’t available at the moment.
“Everyone will benefit from Endo, a player who is focused on cleaning up in midfield.”