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Why Wataru Endo could miss up to 10 Liverpool games in 2024

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Just as they will with Mohamed Salah, Liverpool will lose Wataru Endo at the start of 2024 as he captains Japan in the AFC Asian Cup.

Do mid-season international tournaments really have to be a thing?

While the World Cup put a stop to the domestic calendar last season, no such luxury will be afforded to clubs who have players competing in the Asian Cup or Africa Cup of Nations.

Both competitions start in mid-January, and it is the former that will see Endo fly to Qatar to lead Japan as they look to go one better than their runners-up finish in 2019.

Typically, as we have seen with Salah and other AFCON members, players will leave up to a week before the start of the competition and for Endo this would be January 5.

If the midfielder made it to the final once more, he could miss up to 10 Liverpool games if we take potential cup appearances and replays into account – the same as Salah.

Matches Endo could miss for Asian Cup

DOHA, QATAR - Sunday, November 27, 2022: Japan's Wataru Endo during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Japan and Costa Rica at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium. Costa Rica won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • FA Cup third round – January 6/7
  • Potential League Cup semi-final 1st leg – January 9/10
  • Potential FA Cup third round replay – January 16/17
  • Potential League Cup semi-final 2nd leg – January 22/23
  • Potential FA Cup fourth round – January 27
  • Potential FA Cup fourth round replay – February 6/7

Qatar, the previous winners, are hosting the Asian Cup, which starts on January 12 and runs until February 10 – not too dissimilar to AFCON’s schedule (Jan 13-Feb 11).

Endo’s team are in Group D and will meet Vietnam (Jan 14), Iraq (Jan 19) and Indonesia (Jan 24).

With Japan one of the leading contenders for the trophy, one can expect the new signing to miss the majority of the abovementioned matches.

A lot will depend on how Liverpool progress in their cup competitions, but a run to the final will guarantee a four-game absence in the Premier League (Bournemouth, Chelsea, Arsenal and Burnley).

It is far from ideal for Jurgen Klopp and while the loss of Endo and Salah is less than five months away, it will