We spoke to former Liverpool left-back Jose Enrique on a number of different topics, ranging from the current footballing climate to the best Liverpool player the Spaniard ever played with. The former Newcastle man played 99 times for the Reds, notching two goals. You can follow Jose on Instagram and Twitter by clicking on the respective links.
1. How are you coping without any football at the moment?
“It is difficult for every fan and for everyone that is working in the industry. It’s difficult for footballers, agents and sporting directors. In my case, as an agent now, it’s difficult as there is no live football right now. You can’t follow the players that you are talking to – I am still in touch with them and I’m still in touch with the clubs to see what they need for next season. No-one knows what is going to happen in any leagues really, so it’s a bit of a difficult situation for everyone.”
2. What do you make of the current football landscape? Should this season be completed before the next one can begin? Would you cancel this season and award the title to Liverpool?
“I believe that the season has to be completed. At the end of the day, we’re not just talking about Liverpool. They have to win the league because the points difference is massive. However, there are also teams fighting against relegation, teams fighting for promotion from the Championship, lower leagues as well. So many people are being affected, and it’s the same in Spain and Italy as well.
“Every country has stopped football and all other sports. When this is all over and we start again, I don’t know how it’s going to be, whether matches will be played behind closed doors – but the Premier League has to end. It’s not fair obviously for Liverpool, but also for people fighting for the Champions League, the Europa League, and those teams fighting relegation. It’s not fair.
“I believe that the season will start again, either with fans or behind closed doors. That’s my opinion.
“The season shouldn’t be cancelled, the title should be awarded to Liverpool. Why does the season have to be cancelled? It’s no-ones fault – the virus happened in China – it shouldn’t be cancelled.
“If the season is cancelled, I believe that Liverpool deserve the title, but those teams fighting for relegation – what is going to be fair? Do they stay in the league? Obviously it’s fair to give Liverpool the title as it’s clear that they are going to be champions. Not just because I support Liverpool or because I am an ex-Liverpool player, but because it’s the truth. But there are so many teams involved in this.”
3. What have you made of Liverpool’s season so far?
“For me, the season so far has been incredible. In the league, there’s nothing to talk about there! They have been unbelievable and have been destroying teams. They have been winning even without playing well – that is the sign of champions and what a winning team does. Liverpool are a winning team.
“In the Champions League – Atletico Madrid was always going to be a difficult game – they are a very defensive team and they scored a lucky goal. At Anfield, this was one of the best games I’ve seen for a long, long time. Liverpool destroyed Atletico Madrid. They were unbelievable in the second half and were unlucky with the goals. In the end, it’s two games – you play away and at home, and anything can happen. You are playing against the best teams in Europe.
“In the cup competitions, the youngsters did really well apart from one game. That has been really useful for them and for the manager. It shows the youngsters can make it through – I’ve seen some quality players come through and that’s really good for the club.
“Klopp has made Liverpool a great team again, a winning team, fighting on all fronts. They are on the same level as Barcelona and Real Madrid – and if you ask any player in the world, if they have the chance to join Liverpool, they will join Liverpool. From my experience at Liverpool, I can say that they take care of the players, they look after the staff – it’s unbelievable. It is a top club.”
4. As a former Liverpool left-back, I’m sure you keep a close watch on Andy Robertson, arguably the best left-back in the world at the moment on current form, what have you made of his development at Liverpool since joining form Hull City in 2017?
“For me we have the best two full-backs in the world right now. Liverpool have defensively been very strong. For me, Andy has been the best left-back in the world the last two seasons. He gives the team so much going forward and he is really aggressive defensively.
“He adapted really well and Jurgen Klopp has got the best out of him. The older you get as a footballer, the more important the manager is. He’s been the best left-back in the world, 100%.”
4. Who’s your current favourite Liverpool player?
“To be honest, it’s a difficult choice. We have the best two full-backs in the world, we have one of the best goalkeepers in the world, we have the best centre-back in the world with Virgil van Dijk. Joe Gomez has been performing to a top level as well – I don’t think people value him as much because he has been unlucky with injuries.
“Fabinho has been amazing for the club, Jordan Henderson as well. Roberto Firmino improves every player in the team. The high-press starts from him – as a striker it is difficult to not be selfish, but he doesn’t care if he has to pass to someone else in a better position, as long as he is benefiting the team.
“But if I have to choose one, I would choose Sadio Mane – what he gives to the team is unbelievable. As an individual, he is probably the best player in the team.”
5. Who’s the best Liverpool player who played with?
“That’s another difficult question. I always say I have to mention Stevie Gerrard as he is one of the top two best players to ever play for Liverpool. But, to be honest, I didn’t play with Stevie in his peak, so the best player I ever played with was Luis Suarez. Not just at Liverpool, the best player I have ever played with is Luis Suarez. He’s such a nice guy – I know he did some things on the pitch that people didn’t like, but as a person he was unbelievable. I am still in touch with him, he is still so humble.”
6. What was Luis Suarez like not only to play with, but also to share a dressing room with?
“He was and he is an unreliable guy. He is very humble, joking all of the time, he is a very nice guy. We had a good relationship on the pitch. Off the pitch, he has an unbelievable family – he always treated me amazingly well. We don’t see each other much now as he is in Barcelona. Whenever I need something, tickets for example, or to meet me in the hotel before a game, he is always there for me. He is an amazing guy.”
7. There aren’t many Spanish Liverpool players at the club anymore, but one player who has featured quote heavily this season is Adrian – how would you sum up his first season on Merseyside?
“He’s done amazingly well for the club. Everyone is criticising him for what he’s done against Atletico – but that is the life of a goalkeeper. You can be a hero quickly but the worst can happen quickly as well. People forget very quickly how good he has been.
“He didn’t even have a proper pre-season and once Alisson picked up the injury, he stepped in and lifted a trophy almost straight away. He was unlucky against Atletico but apart from that game, he’s been really good for the team. He’s a very good back-up for Alisson.”
8. Do you think Liverpool need to strengthen this summer?
“You always need to strengthen the squad. There are always things to improve, in any team in the world, no matter how good you are. Maybe some of the players are not happy with the amount of game-time they’re getting, and they may look to go elsewhere, so you have to replace them. Any team in the world needs to strengthen the squad.”
9. Do you have any funny stories from your time at Liverpool that you can remember?
“Yes I have a lot of funny stories but I can’t tell them! There are a few, with Balotelli especially – you can imagine there are a few stories there! But I can’t disclose those, sorry!”
10. What is your all time Liverpool XI?
“You can check out the best #LFC XI I played with below!”