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Klopp hails 'monster' Endo as his new Milner
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Press Association
Liverpool have signed Wataru Endo from Stuttgart (Nick Potts/PA)
Liverpool have signed Wataru Endo from Stuttgart (Nick Potts/PA)

Jurgen Klopp branded Wataru Endo a “real monster” on the pitch and backed the Japanese midfielder to make as much of a splash at Liverpool as James Milner did.

The 30-year-old’s arrival from Stuttgart for roughly 19million euros (£16.2m) may come as underwhelming after Liverpool missed out on big-money signings Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia to Chelsea this week.

Liverpool have seen a number of midfielders depart the club this summer including Milner, who joined on a free transfer aged 29 but went on to become a regular and is viewed by Klopp as a major reason for their success, including Premier League and Champions League glory, in the last few years.

Endo has put pen to paper on a four-year contract and although he is touch-and-go to make his debut against Bournemouth on Saturday, Klopp is delighted with his latest acquisition.

Klopp said: “He is a late bloomer in his career and he was definitely underestimated for a long time. It is clear he has improved every year since he was on the proper football screen.

“There’s no chance that anybody could (think he is 30), when you see him, you think ‘is he allowed to drive a car?’. On the pitch, he turns into a real monster.

“One of the biggest LFC legends of my time was James Milner, he arrived here when he was 29. I can tell you without James Milner, we wouldn’t have enjoyed success in recent years.

“Wataru can have a similar impact. The last week was obviously a tricky one. But when you have a problem you can stick to the problem or find a solution, I’m more than happy to have the solution.”

Liverpool had bids, significantly more than what they paid for Endo, accepted for Ecuador’s Caicedo and Belgium’s Lavia but the pair each opted to move to Stamford Bridge.

Klopp had “absolutely nothing to say about that” but was adamant bringing players to Liverpool has not become a trickier task in recent months.

As a whole, however, he emphasised how much more difficult recruitment has become because of the rise of Saudi Arabia and the eye-watering sums they are willing to pay for players.

Klopp said: “I’m not sure it’s something to do with Liverpool. Everything is more difficult. There are lot of things that are different, some clubs have just a different way to do it and somehow it works.

“As a normal club, it’s really difficult to catch up with them. That’s not my problem, it’s just how it is. Saudi Arabia, on top of that, hasn’t made things easier. The endless money causes a problem.

“It would be cool if someone could find a solution. It became more difficult, but not to convince players to come to Liverpool. You just have to make sure you go for the right ones.

“I sit here and I’m really happy with our transfer window in this moment. We will keep looking, we will try to make the best decisions for this club and we will not use money or anything else as an excuse.”

Klopp will once more be without Spanish duo Stefan Bajcetic and Thiago Alcantara but added they are “really close” to a first-team return after the pair missed last week’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea.

While Klopp was heartened by the displays of summer signings Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, he admitted Liverpool were slow out of the traps in their first match of the season.

He added: “We were not settled enough in the way we want to play. What we lacked in the game was rhythm, especially in possession.

“We had 35 per cent possession which is an absolute joke, it should not happen – it can happen against Manchester City on a special day for them and if it’s an idea of ours to sit a little bit deeper.

“It was not our idea but it happened. We have solutions for our situation, they’re just not available at the moment.”


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