Jurgen Klopp has lavished praise on Wataru Endo as he continues to make a name for himself at the heart of Liverpool's midfield in the absence of Alexis Mac Allister.
Endo has started each of Liverpool's last five games in all competitions and has grown in stature in recent weeks after securing a summer transfer from VfB Stuttgart. When asked about his rich vein of form at a press conference ahead of the Premier League clash against Arsenal at Anfield, Klopp referred to the 30-year-old as one of the hardest-working footballers he has ever coached in his career, adding that he adds 'something different' to his squad.
He said (quotes via Liverpool Echo): "We don't give people time anymore. Internally, we do. When we see him every day in training, he is one of the hardest-working people I've ever met.
"Some of the biggest players this club had in my era needed to adapt... Andy Robertson didn't play half the year. Fabinho, we had to change system for... I'm happy for him (Endo) that the public could see it now. He gives something different to the team. He is the one for the tackles. He is doing that and his passing and awareness is really good."
With Mac Allister still out injured, Endo is likely to start as Liverpool's No. 6 against Arsenal, unless Klopp decides to use Trent Alexander-Arnold in that position, with Joe Gomez filling in at right-back. The Japanese midfielder struggled to get to grips with the pace of the Premier League at the start of the season but has come into his own during the festive period, which has come as a timely boost for Liverpool.
Endo has certainly enhanced his reputation with his performances this month, but the game against Arsenal promises to be the biggest test of his young Liverpool career so far.