Following Japan’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of Iran in the Asian Cup quarter-final on Saturday, defensive midfielder and Japan captain Wataru Endo is returning to Liverpool and expected to rejoin team training early in the week.
The 30-year-old, who appeared to have fully found his feet with his new club and was emerging as a key player for manager Jürgen Klopp before his departure, is expected to be available for selection against Burnley on Saturday.
In his absence, Alexis Mac Allister has been Liverpool’s standout midfielder, setting records for possession regains in the Klopp era, but there have been concerns surrounding a few minor knocks picked up by the Argentine.
Whether Endo swaps straight back in, whether to allow Mac Allister to rest or to push up into one of the eights, or simply provides Klopp with a second half option against Burnley, his return will be invaluable for the Reds’ title push.
On Sunday against Arsenal, injuries and absences finally caught up with Liverpool in an unexpectedly dulled performance against Arsenal—and with Man City’s games in hands, the Reds’ grip on top spot appears tenuous.