Enrique vital to Reds’ revival

Published : Dec 08, 2012 00:00 IST

The Spaniard has proved in recent times that Liverpool is not a one-man team as it gradually turns around its form and starts to move up the English Premier League table.

Jose Enrique’s days at Liverpool appeared to be numbered not so long ago but he appears to have a new lease of life in a more attacking role at Anfield.

Spaniard Enrique joined the Reds in a GBP6 million move from Newcastle in August 2011 and he quickly became a mainstay at left-back with some impressive performances.

But the 26-year-old former Villarreal defender lost his way at the start of this season, suffering a loss of form and injury problems.

New boss Brendan Rodgers warned Enrique that he would have to raise his game and work hard in training if he was to be part of the new regime at Anfield.

He was limited to Europa League appearances as Rodgers opted to play Glen Johnson at left-back rather than the left-footed Enrique.

But when Johnson was ruled out of the Merseyside derby against Everton at Goodison Park recently, Enrique got the nod to stake his claim to become a regular first-team player once again.

A determined Enrique grabbed that opportunity and he kept his place for the draw against his former club Newcastle with an impressive display.

Reds boss Rodgers then opted to employ Enrique in a more attacking role at Chelsea in the English Premier League and he responded with a Man of the Match performance in a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Enrique was outstanding on the left of midfield, getting forward at every opportunity and showing great strength as well as some lovely touches.

He followed that up with another eye-catching performance in a 3-0 EPL win over Wigan recently and put the icing on the cake by scoring his first goal for the club after setting another one up.

It was also the first time he had been on the score-sheet in the EPL and Rodgers has been hugely impressed with the way the marauding Enrique has adapted to his new advance role.

The former Swansea boss said: “If you look at (Tottenham’s) Gareth Bale, he played at left-back and then moved forward and showed his strengths. Jose is someone I think can do that role with his power and pace.”

Enrique revealed he feels more comfortable in his more familiar left-back position, but he is just happy to be back in the team. “It was good. When I was younger I played a lot of times in that position,” he said.

“I prefer to play at left-back because I am more comfortable there as I have played there all my life. But I can’t say I didn’t enjoy playing further forward because I scored a goal and created an assist. If the manager wants me there, I will play wherever he wants.

“The style of play he wants us to play, tiki-taka, is great. It will take time, but we have had some time with this style of play and I think we are showing that on the pitch.” A criticism of Liverpool has been that they have become too reliant on star striker Luis Suarez, who has been outstanding so far this season.

But Enrique has proved in recent times that the Reds are not a one-man team as they gradually turn around their form and start to move up the EPL table.

Throwing down the gauntlet to Enrique when he was going through a difficult spell clearly worked for Rodgers, who is getting the best out of Enrique now.

The former Newcastle man appeared to be surplus to requirements when Rodgers challenged him to prove his worth just a few months ago.

But Enrique has responded in the best possible fashion and he is sure to have a big role to play as the Reds look to build on their recent upturn in fortunes.

© PA Sport, 2012, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, re-written, re-distributed or commercially exploited. Sportstar is not responsible for any inaccuracy in the material.

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