Wataru Endo could be about to have the worst full debut possible for Liverpool.
Endo was brought in last week as a surprising solution for Liverpool’s defensive midfield problem. Having had a decent 30-minute run-out against Bournemouth on Saturday, he now looks set to start this weekend’s trip to Newcastle United.
But according to pundit Paul Merson’s predictions for Sportskeeda, it’s potentially the most difficult debut he could ask for.
“Wataru Endo could play in a midfield three for Liverpool, but the problem is that it’ll be his first game for the team, and I couldn’t think of a worse one than a game against Newcastle,” Merson says. “I would’ve played him against Bournemouth last week where Liverpool would dominate.”
Conversely, Merson praised fellow new signing Dominik Szoboszlai, but suggested that the Reds will find it difficult at St James’ Park.
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“I was very impressed with Dominik Szoboszlai the other day – I couldn’t believe how good he was,” raved the former England international.
“If Newcastle play the way they usually do and start, they can smother Liverpool all over this pitch. If they can make the most of their start, I think they’ll be able to win this game.”
Endo set for first Reds start
In an ideal world, Endo probably would have started for Liverpool against Bournemouth last weekend.
But Merson is missing a crucial point here: he quite literally signed for Liverpool on Friday. There was never a chance of him being thrown out in a must-win game last Saturday.
Half an hour in his legs was probably the best we could hope for – and that’s what we got.
Ironically, it possibly helped Endo get acclimatised that he had to come into a game where Liverpool had ten men. Of course it meant that the Reds weren’t in their usual shape, but it did allow the 30-year-old to get some running in his legs.
Having now had a full week of training and settling in, Endo should be ready to go again on Sunday.
As Merson points out though, it’s going to be tough for Liverpool. Today’s news that Ibrahima Konate is likely to miss the game won’t help them either.
But from what we’ve heard about Endo, this is the kind of thing he’ll relish. Our new No.3 is a fighter, and he’d better be up for it on Tyneside.