OFFICIAL: Liverpool Confirm The Signing Of Japan's Captain and Midfielder Wataru Endo From Stuttgart.

 Liverpool have officially confirmed the signing of Wataru Endo from German club side Stuttgart.

Having completed his medical checks in Merseyside on Thursday ahead of his £15.4million (€18m) switch, the Japan international put pen to paper on a four-year deal which will keep him at Anfield until 2027.

The Reds moved quickly for Endo after suffering double rejection from both Brighton's Moises Caicedo and Southampton's Romeo Lavia. The youngsters both dramatically decided to join rivals Chelsea over Liverpool earlier this week.

Liverpool's need for a central midfielder was obvious throughout last season, as they missed out of Champions League qualification, finishing fifth in the Premier League. 

They also lost three midfielders at the start of the summer after James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Naby Keita were released.

Fabinho and club captain Jordan Henderson both received lucrative offers from the Saudi Arabia clubs, making it crucial to further strengthen the midfield despite already signing Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai from Brighton and RB Leipzig respectively.

With his well-established leadership skills, Endo who turns 31 next February, will inherit the No. 3 shirt vacated by Brazilian star Fabinho.

He is expected to further bolster Liverpool's crop of national team captains which includes Andrew Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Szoboszlai.

"I'm very happy right now and I'm so excited to join a big club in Liverpool," Endo told the club’s official website upon his unveiling.

"It feels amazing and this is my dream. It's always [been] a dream to play [in the] Premier League and with one of the biggest clubs in the world. It's a dream come true for me."

"It's going to be the first time for me that I play at Anfield. I can't wait to play at Anfield in front of Liverpool fans.

"I play as a No.6 and I'm like a bit more [of a] defensive player. I think I can help this club defensively and I will have good organisation in the middle. I think that's my job."

The captain of both Stuttgart and Japan, has 50 caps for his country, and having previously played in Belgium for Sint-Truiden after spending much of his career in Japan. The experienced star has played nearly 500 senior games for club and country.

He has been a regular in the centre of Stuttgart's midfield in the Bundesliga for the past three seasons.  

Last season, he was ranked among the top three Bundesliga midfielders for ball recoveries, and ranked highly in passing and tackling metrics, too.

He made a total 133 appearances and scored 15 goals for Stuttgart.

Endo becomes Jurgen Klopp's third signing of the summer, but he is not expected to be the only new arrival, as the Anfield chiefs, are still looking to recruit a second defensive midfielder and consider themselves genuine title challengers this season.

Other names are actively being explored with Crystal Palace's Cheick Doucoure among the options towards the top of Klopp's shortlist.

"I'm really happy. Wataru is a really good player," Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said. 

"I know in this world of football how it goes and stuff like this, but have a look, have a look, because he's a really good player.

"If he's not 30, firstly, I am not sure we get him. Second, he was always on my list, just usually we don't sign players of this age group. He is obviously a top fit and we will have a lot of fun with him.

"Experienced player, captain of Stuttgart, captain of Japan, speaks good English, nice fella, family man, machine on the pitch, good footballer on top of that, sensational attitude. So, I'm really happy. He's a good footballer, very experienced and loves to work extremely hard."

Following a 1-1 draw in their League opener against Chelsea last Sunday at Stamford Bridge, Endo is expected to be available to feature in the Premier League on Saturday against Bournemouth at Anfield, with the player likely to fit in alongside Mac Allister and Szoboszlai as part of a midfield three.

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