Wataru Endo is becoming an incredibly important player for Liverpool - a fact underlined by a new statistic. The Reds will miss him at the Asian Cup.
Wataru Endo was a surprise signing for Liverpool in the summer. He joined with next to no hype and zero speculation beforehand - no one had him on their shortlist.
Now, though, the Japanese international is finding his feet and becoming a regular in the middle. In fact, Endo recently achieved a feat unseen at Liverpool for 18 years as he started five games for the Reds inside 13 days.
The latter four of those saw him play at least an hour, too, and three of those were the full 90 minutes. So how did things go?
Defensively, it was quite spectacular. Liverpool's last four games - of which Endo has played all but 30 minutes - have seen them concede just four shots on target. Four.
Even more incredibly, one of those - Jarrod Bowen's goal for West Ham United - came in the 30 minutes Endo wasn't on the pitch. So he's actually only seen three shots on Liverpool's goal across the last three games.
It should be noted, though, that one other Red featured for the exact number of minutes that Endo did across those four games - Virgil van Dijk. The Liverpool captain isn't exactly a stranger to these kinds of stats, though.
What it instead shows is that Endo is capable of playing in a team at that level and as the sole defensive midfielder in the team. It's also easy to believe that he's still not playing at his best level, nor will he be fully at home in Liverpool's system just yet.
In 2024, he might just hit another level yet and boost the Reds further. What a shame that he's now off to the Asian Cup, then.