Liverpool midfielder Wataru Endo could potentially start his side’s Premier League clash with Brighton, following fresh comments from Jurgen Klopp.
The Reds won 2-0 at home to Union SG in the Europa League on Thursday evening, with goals from Ryan Gravenberch and Diogo Jota earning them all three points.
Next up for Klopp’s men is a trip to Brighton on Sunday afternoon, in a game that has the potential to be a tricky one against strong opposition.
Liverpool will be without suspended pair Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota, and with the former absent, a gap will open up in the midfield.
Endo was replaced at half-time in the win over Union, and speaking after the game [via This Is Anfield], Klopp said that “all three subs were planned”, with Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez also coming off at the break.
While not necessarily a guarantee, this suggests that the manager sees the Japanese as a possible starter at the Amex Stadium this weekend, taking him off as a precaution at Anfield because of it.
Our thoughts on Endo starting against Brighton…
Endo is taking time to settle into life in a Liverpool shirt, with the speed of the English game often hard to get used to for any new signing, so seeing him start away to Brighton could be risky.
Granted, he is more of an out-and-out defensive midfielder than Alexis Mac Allister, which would allow the Argentine to play in his preferred No.8 role, but the Seagulls move the ball quickly and Endo could easily find himself out of his depth.
That may sound harsh, considering the 30-year-old is improving for the Reds, but this could be a tough game and it is easy to envisage him struggling in the middle of the park.
Instead, sticking with Mac Allister as the No.6 against his former club makes more self, with Gravenberch then coming in for Jones alongside Dominik Szoboszlai, in what looks like an exciting midfield-three.
Should Endo start, it certainly wouldn’t be a big issue – it could prove to be a day when he truly announces himself to Liverpool fans – but Europa League minutes look better for him for the time being.