Jurgen Klopp hails the impact of midfielders Alexis Mac Allister and Wataru Endo

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LONDON – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp praised midfielders Wataru Endo and Alexis Mac Allister, with his revamped engine room proving to be a resounding success in his final season in charge at Anfield.

Ahead of this campaign, the Reds lost long-time midfield starters Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, as well as back-ups James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

But Klopp has managed to fashion an entirely new engine room, with the likes of summer signings Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch, along with youth product Curtis Jones and 20-year-old Harvey Elliott.

Mac Allister, in particular, was in fine form in the 2-1 come-from-behind win against Brighton & Hove Albion at the weekend, recording an assist for Mohamed Salah’s winner. The 25-year-old Argentinian has five goals and seven assists this term.

Speaking a day before their English Premier League clash against cellar dwellers Sheffield United, Klopp said on April 3: “I knew this was a player that I desperately wanted. Thank God we got him.

“He brought everything he learned at Brighton, which was super useful, but this was a new environment, a slightly different role, so it was about how he adapted to that – you never know. Not from a footballing point of view, more about character.

“There were a lot of different discussions – can he play the No. 6? I got asked the question quite frequently.

“It always helps to be playing a little bit out of your comfort zone. We all know the No. 8 is his best position but he can play the No. 6 anyway. I am absolutely happy.

“He is a fantastic boy. A great player, fantastic footballer and super important for us.”

Allowing Mac Allister to play in the more advanced No. 8 role is 31-year-old Endo, an unexpected signing from VfB Stuttgart.

On the Japanese, Klopp said: “Offensively the protections needs to be first and foremost. Has to be perfect, gives you the freedom to fly offensively and a natural defensive minded midfielder is super helpful.

“In possession he is doing really well, too. Partners up with everyone really well, worked out well. Super important.”

The Reds sit top of the table on 67 points, but both Arsenal and Manchester City could potentially climb above them if they win their April 3 matches against Luton Town and Aston Villa respectively. Both games took place after press time.

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