Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has praised new signing Wataru Endo for having to deal with a “horrible” situation on his debut for the Reds only one day after joining the club.
Previous targets Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia both opted to join Chelsea for a combined £173m, forcing Liverpool to move quickly in the transfer market and spend £16m on Endo instead to reinforce their midfield.
News of interest in the Japan international only surfaced on Wednesday and by Friday he was being unveiled at Anfield. The following day, Endo came off the bench in the win over Bournemouth shortly after Alexis Mac Allister was sent off in controversial circumstances.
Klopp was impressed by the way Endo handled things after a whirlwind few days.
“Horrible [situation], first game coming in,” the Liverpool boss said of his new signing coming into the game in the manner that he did.
“The two days he had, I’m not surprised. He did alright, had no clue what to do. I spoke with him this morning, about 11 players, [how] it would look but 4-4-1 was not in the conversation! I don’t think he slept a lot in the last two nights but he threw everything on the pitch he had, that’s it.”
Liverpool were already lining up with forward Cody Gakpo in midfield and Mac Allister is looking at a three-game ban thanks to the straight red card for his tackle on Ryan Christie. Klopp was left stunned when a VAR review of the incident didn’t result in a second look from referee Thomas Bramall.
“I saw the red card back and for sure we have to talk about it. I understand 100% how it looks for a ref at that moment but when you see it back it is the inside of the foot and no power behind it,” Klopp argued afterward.
“It is not ruthless, it just mis-hit the ball and then hit slightly the shin of the other player. We saw harsher challenges which were not a red card and this shouldn’t have been. I don’t know exactly what we have to do, but we should talk about it again.”
Unless the suspension is overruled on appeal, Mac Allister will miss upcoming Premier League games against Newcastle, Aston Villa, and Wolves, putting more pressure on the likes of Endo and Harvey Elliott to step up in his absence.