- LocationValencia, Spain
- Squad Number3
Jose Enrique became the answer to our left-back conundrum when he joined the club in the summer of 2011.
The Spaniard arrived at Anfield from Newcastle United and settled in immediately with a series of confident displays, the like of which Kopites had not seen from a left-back for several years.
A successful sprinter as a youngster, Enrique started out his footballing journey at Levante before being signed by hometown club Valencia in the summer of 2005. However, Los Che opted to immediately send him out on loan so he could gain experience.
Having impressed during his season-long spell at Celta Vigo, Enrique secured a permanent transfer to Villarreal in 2006.
It was during his time at El Madrigal that the defender earned the nickname ‘El Toro’ (The Bull) due to his speed, physical prowess and eagerness to maraud forward to support attacks – and he was soon making his mark at international level as he stepped up to the Spanish U21 squad.
By the start of the 2007-08 campaign, Enrique was one of Europe’s hottest properties. Newcastle won the race for his signature, capturing him on a five-year deal despite reported interest from Liverpool and Manchester City.
He made 28 appearances during his maiden term on Tyneside and though his star continued to rise in his second season, Enrique was unable to prevent Newcastle slipping down into the Championship.
Several Premier League teams circled for his signature, but Enrique rebuffed any interest and stated his desire to help bring top-flight football back to St James’ Park.
He remained true to his word and not only did he help fire Newcastle to the top of the Championship table, he was also named as the club’s Player of the Season for 2009-10.
In addition, Enrique clinched a place in the PFA Championship Team of the Year, alongside fellow future Red Andy Carroll.
The full-back continued to flourish upon Newcastle’s return to the Premier League, prompting Liverpool to make their move.
Enrique departed Newcastle having notched 129 appearances and one goal, but his aim now was to compete for trophies at one of the world’s biggest clubs.
And he didn’t have to wait long to get his hands on a medal as he helped Liverpool to Carling Cup glory just seven months after switching to Anfield.
Afforded a licence to attack by Brendan Rodgers, the Spaniard thrived from full-back and occasionally the wing during 2012-13, although the season to follow would frustratingly prove to be one beset by injury.
Sadly 2014-15 has continued in much the same vein, but Rodgers will hope that the full-back can regain the form that made him one of Europe’s most coveted defenders.