Japan captain Wataru Endo made his first start for Liverpool in England on Sunday, while compatriot and Paris Olympics hopeful Koki Saito bagged a brace for Sparta Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Defensive midfielder Endo, who at the age of 30 is the oldest Japanese player ever to debut in the Premier League, played 58 minutes against Newcastle at St. James' Park, where a late double from substitute Darwin Nunez secured 10-man Liverpool an unlikely win.

Seeing little time on the ball in the early stages, Endo grew into the game after Liverpool conceded a 25th-minute opener to Anthony Gordon and went down to 10 men three minutes later when captain Virgil van Dijk saw a straight red.

It was a second straight game for Endo to play with his team under a numerical disadvantage after the former Stuttgart captain made his debut off the bench last weekend, also with a man down, in a 3-1 home win over Bournemouth.

In the Eredivisie, the 22-year-old Saito helped Sparta to a 3-1 win away to Heerenveen as he scored for the first time this term.

Saito nodded home to double Sparta's lead in the 53rd minute after Heerenveen keeper Andries Noppert failed to gather a low shot, and made it 3-0 nine minutes later as he found the bottom corner from 25 meters out.