Soccer

Wataru Endo: Carabao Cup win would give Liverpool ‘extra energy’ for more titles

Liverpool, who face Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday, are still in contention for four trophies this season.

Liverpool midfielder Wataru Endo believes a Carabao Cup win would be a huge boost for the rest of the season
Liverpool’s Wataru Endo celebrates scoring Liverpool midfielder Wataru Endo believes a Carabao Cup win would be a huge boost for the rest of the season (Peter Byrne/PA)

Liverpool midfielder Wataru Endo believes victory in the Carabao Cup final will provide the extra energy required to maintain their challenge on three other fronts.

Sunday’s meeting is a repeat of the Reds’ 2022 encounter with Chelsea at Wembley which Jurgen Klopp’s side eventually won 11-10 on penalties with only one player – goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga – missing.

However, only four of that Liverpool starting XI are likely to be in this weekend’s team – Mohamed Salah would be a fifth but is currently doubtful with a minor issue after making his comeback from a hamstring problem at Brentford – as a result of some high-profile departures and a raft of injuries.

The extent of the injury crisis was laid bare in Wednesday’s 4-1 win over Luton, in which Klopp named a bench with three defenders and four academy players, and should that situation continue it could seriously hamper Liverpool’s bid to contend in the Premier League – which they lead – the FA Cup and Europa League.

But Endo said nothing gives players a boost like winning a trophy and for a large number of the Reds’ team – the Japan international included – Sunday will be their first chance at the club.

“If we could win this first one I think it would have a really positive impact on the other competitions we’re competing in,” said the £16million summer signing.

“Winning at Wembley would give us extra energy for the challenges ahead. I’m so excited to play there. It will be my first time at such a special stadium.

“It would mean a lot to me. It would be my first title with Liverpool and I’m focused on doing everything I can to help the team win the final.

“The manager has spoken to us about staying positive and needing to show that we are Liverpool. We did that against Luton.

“We don’t think too much about injured players, we just focus on the next game in front of us.”

Sunday is the first significant milestone in Klopp’s long goodbye after he announced his decision to leave at the end of the season.

Endo was away at the Asian Cup when the news broke but the 31-year-old, who has proved his critics wrong after being viewed as an emergency stop-gap holding midfielder, is keen to repay the manager’s faith.

“I was sad to hear about that. I really enjoy playing for him and playing football the way he plays,” he said.

“It’s disappointing but I really want us to achieve titles for him before he goes.

“I’ve only played for Jurgen for one season. Others have been here a lot longer so maybe they have more emotion but he has helped me so much.”

After a tough introduction to English football the former Stuttgart midfielder has cemented his place as the team’s anchor, fulfilling a role which Alexis Mac Allister had been asked to do after Fabinho departed to Saudi Arabia in the summer.

“It’s hard to play for Liverpool. There’s always a lot of pressure,” Endo added.

“Playing in the Premier League is tough but this is something I wanted for a long time and I try to make sure I enjoy it and do my best every time.

“I feel like I’ve developed over the course of the season and that has helped to give me confidence.”