Wataru Endo can solve ‘absolute joke’ as Jürgen Klopp fixes Liverpool snag that Chelsea exposed

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has said it was an ‘absolute joke’ that his boys posted just 35 per cent possession against Chelsea, but new signing Wataru Endo can fix that challenge.

Jürgen Klopp delivered his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon, and when asked about Liverpool’s last match against Chelsea, the German coach made quite a statement. “An absolute joke,” he said in relation to the Reds holding a measly possession share of just 35 per cent.

Indeed, Klopp is right to be concerned by those numbers, as Liverpool have only posted lower in the Premier League under his leadership on three occasions within years, with two of those matches against Manchester City.

His players completed just 316 passes at Stamford Bridge, compared to Chelsea who accumulated 645, which was more than twice as many.

Cody Gakpo started the bout in the middle of the park, yet after 65 minutes of action, he had completed a total of just 10 passes.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, who is renowned for being Liverpool’s creator and conductor at the same time, completed just 26 of his 47 attempted passes, leaving him with a success rate of around 55 per cent.

Klopp’s outfit was packed full of creative stars who are eager to try things on the ball, hence the glaring lack of control against the Blues. “That was not our idea for that game, but it happened,” he said in his pre-Bournemouth conference. “We were too much in a rush with the ball.”

Much of the problem stemmed from the players within Klopp’s squad, and how they see the game. The 56-year-old has a group with a very high ceiling at his disposal, but many of them are attack-minded players who wish to grab the headlines, such as Alexander-Arnold, Gakpo, Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, Dominik Szoboszlai, Luis Díaz and Darwin Núñez to name but a few.

With the transfer window due to close at the end of the month, it seems Klopp has used the market to address his Chelsea concern this week.

Just before Friday’s press conference, Liverpool announced the acquisition of Wataru Endo from Stuttgart, with the Asian midfielder arriving for $21m (£16m/€19m).

The captain of Japan is not a marquee name by any means — with Klopp labeling him as a ‘late bloomer’ — but he has the credentials to act as a counterbalance for the Reds this term.

Endo has been presented with the number three shirt on Merseyside, which was left vacant by Fabinho, who moved to Saudi Arabia earlier this summer.

He is industrious, driven and proactive, having developed a reputation in the Bundesliga for his leadership qualities and his relentless running power.

Now aged 30, Endo has plenty of experience under his belt, and rather than attempting to assume the spotlight on English shores, he is more inclined to do the dirty work while presenting his more attacking teammates with a platform to win the game by taking risks.

“In the end, it would be cool if he could win challenges and pass the ball from A to B — and he will do that, definitely, from day one,” Klopp said in his first interview (via Liverpool’s official website) speaking about his new addition, labeling him as a ‘machine’ who is ‘super-highly respected’ by his peers.

In his very first conversation with Endo in the Liverpool locker room, Klopp stated to him: “As soon as you are available, we really need you. We really need you. Your heart and your legs and your football brain, we need it. We have a really good team. Ready to work, but very offensive.”

His words effectively sum up the state of his squad right now, while also offering an insight into why Endo could prove to be a very astute addition.

The seasoned performer has the skill set to provide balance at Anfield this weekend, although it remains to be seen whether he will be involved against the Cherries so soon after his arrival.

If he is, supporters should expect Liverpool to suddenly appear more in sync on Saturday afternoon, with Klopp’s possession figures likely to receive a boost.




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