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Wataru Endo happy with ‘improvements’ as he heads to Asia – “I showed why I’m here”

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Wataru Endo believes he has earned his place in the Liverpool midfield, having put in another impressive display in the 4-2 victory over Newcastle at Anfield.

The 30-year-old signed off for the upcoming Asian Cup with all three points as he heads away to captain Japan and miss a minimum of four games for the Reds.

He has become a key component in the middle of the park in Alexis Mac Allister‘s absence, starting in all six games after the Argentine sustained a cut to the left knee bone away at Sheffield United.

Endo was involved from the outset again on Monday night, showing Jurgen Klopp what he will be missing as he represents his country over the coming weeks.

The midfielder was asked whether he felt any disappointment in leaving the squad while they are in such good shape, to which he was admirably diplomatic in his response.

“Yeah a little bit, but of course, I need to play for the national team as well,” Endo told LFCTV after the game.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, January 1, 2024: Wataru Endo during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I have to leave, but these last few games I played for this club I showed why I’m here, so I will go to Qatar, get a good result and then come back.”

The Japan captain has already chalked up 24 appearances in red since his £16.25 million move from Stuttgart in the summer, alleviating any doubts about the club’s decision not to spend big on a defensive midfielder.

He is adapting well to life in England and insists he is “improving every game” having been disappointed with his showing in the 2-1 win in the reverse fixture back in August.

“Today I had the same feeling, I played my first ever game in Newcastle and I need to show I’m improving every game,” he continued.

“I’m so happy to get this result and I’ll do my best.”

Endo won’t return until after the second leg of the League Cup semi-final against Fulham later this month at the earliest, but progression in the Asian Cup could see him kept away for even longer.

Should Japan reach the final of the competition, the Reds would likely be without their No. 3 until the trip to Brentford on February 17, which would mean he would be absent for up to eight games should Liverpool reach the fourth round of the FA Cup.

His recent displays have shown he belongs in the Reds’ midfield, and fans will be hoping he returns fit and healthy in the not-too-distant future.