Reds duo fighting their way back to top form
JOSE ENRIQUE believes he’s getting back to his best after the slump in form which left his Liverpool future in doubt.
The Spanish full-back endured a wretched start to the season as he struggled to impress and was hampered by a mystery knee injury.
Two months ago boss Brendan Rodgers warned him he needed to show more “hunger and desire” to extend his Reds career beyond January and Enrique has since risen to the challenge.
He made his fifth successive league start in Sunday’s draw at Swansea City and once again proved his versatility by impressing in an attacking left-sided role.
“Football has different moments,” said Enrique. “Now I feel as if I am playing well and I hope I can continue like this.
“You don’t live off what you have done before in football, you live in the now and I am trying to do my best. The most important thing is to help the team as much as possible.
“Last season, until December, I really played well but I don’t know why my form dropped after that.
“I had some problems with my knee at the start of this season. All you want to do is play but I was frustrated because we didn’t really know what was wrong with my knee.
“I had this pain but in the scan everything was showing up okay. Then, one day, the pain had just gone and now I am happy because I am playing.
“I believe in myself and I always have done, no matter what team I have played for.
“I want to be here for a long time. This is the biggest club I have ever played for. The fans are amazing and I am really happy in the city.”
Enrique, who arrived at Anfield from Newcastle for £6million in the summer of 2011, is determined to maintain the standards he has set in recent weeks. The 26-year-old believes he’s developed as a player from the time spent working with Rodgers.
“In England, he is the best manager I have had in terms of tactics and everything else,” added Enrique.
“Tactically, he is very Spanish. He reminds me of when I had (Manuel) Pellegrini at Villarreal.
“He really likes Spanish players, those who give him 100% every game. He has a mentality like a Spanish manager and I really like that.
“It doesn’t matter how well you have played in the past, it is what you are doing at the minute that counts. Every day you have to prove yourself. If you don’t play well, you are on the bench.”
Enrique has had to adjust to a new role after being asked to play on the left of a three-pronged attack in the Reds’ last two matches and he’s likely to remain there for tomorrow night’s trip to Tottenham.
So far it has worked well with him scoring his first goal for the club in the victory over Wigan and then being harshly denied a winner at Swansea by an offside decision.
Enrique admits he feels more at home in the back four but is content to play wherever he’s required.
“It’s the manager’s decision,” he said. “My position is left-back. I am more comfortable there.
“If he plays Glen (Johnson) or Stewart (Downing) there, that is his decision. I have to respect that. I really enjoy attacking so playing further forward isn’t a problem. I am happy there and playing alongside Luis (Suarez) is really easy. With his movement, he is a really clever player.”