Wataru Endo will leave Liverpool early next year to take part in the 2023 Asian Cup with Japan. Here are the fixtures he'll miss.
The 2023 Asian Cup will take place early next year. Qatar are hosting the tournament, which will run from January 12 through February 10. It's a tournament that was supposed to take place last summer but various circumstances meant it was postponed until now.
Japan will take part, having qualified long ago, and that means Liverpool's Wataru Endo will play. Thus the Reds will be without Endo for at least a little while, depending on how his country does at the tournament.
The Africa Cup of Nations actually takes place at almost exactly the same time (January 13th through February 11th), leaving Liverpool a little short. Mohamed Salah will be at that one, of course.
But what will Endo miss? Here are the Liverpool fixtures the midfielder is potentially absent for.
Which Liverpool fixtures will Wataru Endo miss?
Now, exactly when Endo will disappear isn't clear – it depends on when Japan call up their players and want them with the national side. But if they're lenient, the Reds could have their defensive midfielder for all fixtures up to and including the FA Cup 3rd Round clash with Arsenal on January 7.
Liverpool then enjoy a brief winter break, which dramatically decreases the number of games Endo will miss.
The first leg of the League Cup semi-final vs Fulham (January 10) is the only fixture Liverpool face before league action resumes on January 21, when they travel to Bournemouth.
Endo certainly won't be in contention for either of those encounters as Japan have their final group-stage game on January 24 – the same day as the Reds' second leg against Fulham.
However, the Bournemouth fixture is the only Premier League game Liverpool are guaranteed to be without him. The rest depends on how Japan do at the tournament.
They're highly likely to get out of their group, however, as it's possible three of the four qualify. The earliest Round of 16 game is January 29 and Liverpool play on against Chelsea two days later. Even if Japan are knocked out immediately, Endo won't be back in time for that one.
If Japan make the quarter-finals, Endo will also miss the trip to Arsenal on February 3. If they exit at that stage or the semi-finals, it's possible that he could return as Liverpool host Burnley on February 10.
That's ruled out if they make the final, however.
- Fulham (h) - 10 January
- Bournemouth (a) - 21 January
- Fulham (a) - 24 January
- Arsenal (a) - 7 January (depending on call-up dates)
- Chelsea (h) - 31 January (If Japan get out of the group)
- Arsenal (a) - 3 February (If Japan make the quarter-finals)
- Burnley (h) - 10 February (If Japan make the final)