How Endo’s turning point might have occurred at halftime at Anfield

On Wednesday night, during half-time of Liverpool’s win over Leicester, it felt like we were witnessing another unremarkable moment in Wataru Endo’s early career at Anfield.This

is not a criticism of the Japanese; Most players do not adapt immediately to a new club and competition, and therefore have difficulty making their mark in their first appearances

Of course there are exceptions when it comes to adapting on the fly, such as Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk or Dominik Szoboszlai who come to mind in the Jurgen Klopp era.

But more often than not, new players like Darwin Nunez, Fabinho or Andy Robertson follow suit as they settle into a new environment.

This may be complicated by the changes they would experience if they moved to the city or even the countryside, with Endo’s wife and his four children only recently joining him on Merseyside.

What happens, those first few games in the red shirt end up being little more than opportunities to learn, rather than opportunities for the player to show what he can do – a category that Wednesday’s game seemed to fall into for Endo.

If there was any frustration from the 30-year-old midway through this latest start, it was the familiar caution in his performance.

Just last week, Klopp said of Endo: “Wataru is a great boy, very calm and very polite and that might have cost him the first two weeks.

He’s coming now.And against the Foxes he seemed to fall into the trap again as he let the 90 minutes pass.But then half-time came and Endo reappeared, looking like a man determined to announce his arrival as a Liverpool player.

He finished the match as the key architect and once again secured a 3-1 victory for the Reds, coming from behind to throw four interceptions and post a very decent pass success rate of 90.4 for hundred.

And while may seem strange to point out something positive, the four fouls he committed (more than any other player on the court) were also encouraging.

Klopp’spreviously expressed hesitation is long gone, replaced by an argument that perhaps showed Endo wears a mouthguard for a reason.

This was particularly evident in a hard tackle on Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, who followed soon after and set up Szoboszlai for a shot from distance (one of two key passes from the Liverpool No.3 on the evening).

Many of his interventions also had an intellectual quality: Cody Gakpo’s goal and Szoboszlai’s memorable strike followed Endo being in the right place at the right time as Leicester attempted to clear the ball.

It is this mix of skill and ability that could see the Japan captain become more than just a regular in Liverpool’s secondary cups in the future.

Giventhat many of his first five appearances for the club had made such an outcome difficult to predict, his sixth seemed like a big step forward.

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