Jack Lusby

Feature Writer

Does Imminent Arrival of Alberto Moreno Signal the End for Jose Enrique?

With Liverpool reportedly set to announce the signing of Spanish left-back Alberto Moreno this week, Jack Lusby asks whether this spells the end for Jose Enrique.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 17, 2013: Liverpool's Jose Enrique in action against Stoke City during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If reports—such as this, via the Daily Mail—are to be believed, Liverpool will sign Sevilla’s Spanish left-back Alberto Moreno this week.

A fee of around £16 million has been touted for the 21-year-old, and any signing would involve a contract tying the World Cup absentee to the Reds long into the future.

After the miserable loan signing of Aly Cissokho last season, and the vapid contributions of Paul Konchesky et al in previous years, Brendan Rodgers will be hoping that this signing will be the end of a torturous search for a long-term left-back at the club.

It could be argued that the Reds found their man three years ago, with the signing of Jose Enrique from Newcastle United, but long-standing injury problems and considerable lapses in concentration on the left side of defence seem to have led the Spaniard to fall out of Rodgers’ favour.

Moreno would be the next significant signing of Liverpool’s summer, following that of Rickie Lambert from Southampton, and it could well spell the end for Jose Enrique at the club.

moreno_cap

Moreno Deal

With such a high transfer fee, and a prospective, long-term contract, it is safe to assume that Moreno would be first-choice at Liverpool from next season.

Furthermore, at just 21 years old, the Spaniard can hope to hold on to this position for many years ahead.

This deal represents very much FSG-era Rodgers signing, with an eye on both the present—with Alberto expected to contribute from the off—and the future.

What’s more, the Sevilla man would expect no less, surely, after becoming a regular fixture at the La Liga side in a season crowned by Europa League glory; at a Champions League-challenging Liverpool, Moreno would look to play as much as possible.

 

Enrique & Rodgers

In comparison, Enrique has never seemed fully settled under Rodgers at Liverpool.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 3, 2013: Liverpool's Jose Enrique in action against Olympiakos CFP during a preseason friendly match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

At the beginning of the Northern Irishman’s tenure at Anfield, Enrique’s commitment to the club was put under question, particularly following a disastrous performance against Young Boys in the Europe League.

The Daily Mail quoted the Liverpool manager in regards to the desire of the Spaniard to succeed at the club: “if you are not quite right in your preparation and you come in looking in for an easy life, to pick up your money, it won’t be here. We are a club that has to be fighting going forward.”

This is the belief that the former Swansea manager has looked to instil since his arrival in charge of the Reds, and the 41-year-old continued “I will play a 17-year-old if he fights and he has quality. It is quite easy.”

This is a sentiment that rings true following the rise of Jon Flanagan at the club, with the 21-year-old exceling in Enrique’s stead in 2013/14, and determination and fight proved hallmarks of the England international’s game.

Flanagan has deputised for the Spaniard throughout a long-standing knee injury, which limited Enrique to only eight Premier League appearances last season, a situation which seemed to frustrate Rodgers.

The way in which he told LiverpoolFC.com “we’d hoped he’d be a little bit further on in his recovery,” back in January, may suggest a lack of commitment to recovery.

 

Enrique & Moreno

This is an unfortunate situation, as on his day Enrique is a left-back of phenomenal strength and occasional attacking ingenuity; as per Squawka, the Spaniard made two assists in his short eight appearances in 2013/14.

However, lapses in concentration add to the feeling of an unsettled defence for the Reds, and this is surely something that Rodgers is looking to counter this summer.

Transfermarkt.co.uk value the player at just over £10 million, and the Spaniard still as two years left on his contract, suggesting that a move away from Anfield could be profitable for the Reds, particularly given that Enrique is now 28 years old.

Moreno, comparatively, should give Rodgers an established left-back, potentially, for a decade.

The 21-year-old’s intelligent, perceptive style of play—as evidenced by an average interceptions per game rate of 2.5 (WhoScored) compared to Enrique’s 1.1—will suit the Northern Irishman’s system adeptly.

 

Where next for Enrique?

It is clear that Enrique is far from a poor player, and the Spaniard has contributed impressively at times in a Liverpool shirt; a move away from Anfield could benefit many a club.

For example, whilst current managerial unrest seems to be holding back any potential incomings and outgoings at Southampton, the news of Luke Shaw’s interest in a move to Manchester United will likely see the Saints on the lookout for a new left-sided defender.

Elsewhere, following the unsuccessful signings of Pablo Armero and Razvan Rat at the Boleyn Ground last season, and the release of George McCartney, Enrique may pique the interest of West Ham United.

The Spaniard’s attacking prowess would add some much needed verve to Sam Allardyce’s squad.

Furthermore, with the Daily Express today linking current first-choice left-back Davide Santon with a move back to his Italian homeland, perhaps Newcastle United could be tempted by a return for their former charge.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 25, 2013: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard screams at team mate Jose Enrique during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match against Manchester United at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Future

Whilst it seems to have not quite worked out under Rodgers, Jose Enrique will likely be dissatisfied with the likely petering out of his Liverpool career.

The Spaniard does offer the Reds a solid option on the left side of defence, but the potential signing of Alberto Moreno seems to have put paid to any future for the Sevilla man’s older compatriot.

Furthermore, the form of Jon Flanagan, the return of Andre Wisdom, and the bemusing vitality of Glen Johnson at the club seemingly leave Enrique the most likely option for the chop this summer.

A loyal servant of the club, Enrique could be labelled the victim of a sensational, and hugely enjoyable, transition under Rodgers; perhaps it is time to move on, for the best.

Do you think the signing of Alberto Moreno is the end of Jose Enrique at Liverpool? And is it for the best? Let us know in the comments below.

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Jack Lusby

Aspiring sports journalist and ardent Liverpool supporter based in Norwich.

  • Jake

    I always liked Enrique! He had his lapses at the back from time to time, but I liked his aggression in the tackle! There aren’t many people that could hold off a shoulder charge by him!! I trust Rodgers, so whether he decides to keep Enrique or sell him on, I’m sure it will be for the right reasons!!

    • Evan Dipasquale

      Enrique must stay assuming he ever recovers from this horrid knee injury of his. If! Moreno does come to lfc you have to look at what both him and Enrique bring to the squad. Strength and defensively José is better then Moreno no question there, but then going foward although José is not bad at getting foward and helping offensively but Moreno is definitely the more of a threat of the two.. So with both these exceptional LB in the squad it’ll give lfc great cover and options based on the opponent they’re playing. Example much rather José playing against stoke and Moreno playing against arsenal it just makes sense.. So here is too having two quality LBs at lfc next season!!!! YNWA. PS pretty sure José wages were below 50k a week if I recall correctly so his wages aren’t exactly breaking the bank, Enrique must stay!!

  • Graeme Smith

    I can’t see who would become the 2nd choice LB if we do sell Enrique?
    - Flanagan should be given a fair chance to lock down the RB slot that isn’t disrupted by covering on the other side, I can’t feel confident with the idea of Agger or Sakho
    covering there. Can can apparently cover there, but is that really enough if Moreno was to suffer a few months out injured at any point? And what new player could we sign that would be happy to be backup, while also being good enough?

    • http://www.thisisanfield.com This Is Anfield

      Fair point. If Enrique were to leave though (given his wages are pretty high for merely being a squad player), we’d have Flanagan, Can, Johnson all capable of covering left back, plus possibly Robinson. You’d expect that would be enough.

      • Ryan Mccreadie

        You forgot Brad Smith.

      • Rizplanet

        Assuming Johnson is first choice RB, the only cover would be Flanno, Can and Robinson…. Now, i’m not sure that would be adequate in a CL year and when we are supposed to be fighting for the title – not to mention that Moreno himself is a kid…

  • steve syp

    I would keep Enrique , we need competition for places , especially with champions league on the horizon & all the cup comps. We are bound to suffer injuries at one point during next season. We will have wisdom Johnson , Flanagan fighting for the right back slot so we if we get Moreno in our fullbacks should be sorted.

  • Liverpoollad

    If we don’t NEED to sell him then hold on to him. Plenty of game time available next season barring injury. League, Domestic cups, and CL. Could easily run into 60 odd games to cover. Cut his wages to 3 bob a week and a cheese sandwich. He can have ham if he puts in a good performance. Plus,he can have a bag of crisps if he scores. I think that’s only being fair.

    • JC

      “He can have ham if he puts in a good performance” – Brilliant!

    • Rich N

      I’d expect us to keep hold of him as competition. BR has always said he wants 2 quality players fighting for each position, and if he goes we’re back in the situation of having one true LB (I’d like to see Flanno fighting for the RB slot next year), and injuries can then play havoc.

      I have no idea how much money he’s on, but I would suggest it’s likely to be a lot lower than some of the other bigger names in the squad such as Johnson. Be interesting to know if anyone has any reasonably concrete numbers.

    • joe mckeown

      More than Fair, but don’t forget, that’s LFC money you’re spending.

      .

  • Keith

    I like Jose Enrique and I felt he had all the tools to succeed at left back. But if he leaves, I’ll always remember him for ‘that pass to Suarez’ :)

  • Abyss

    I feel a little bad for Enrique having missed out on the opportunity to play when Liverpool were playing arguably their best football in a very long time. You look at how Rodgers managed to get the best out of even players like Cissokoh(folks, he started in our best games of the season against Arsenal and almost scored a goal himself), and you just have to wonder that he’d probably get Enrique to be the best version of himself as well. He seems to fit Rodgers’ style as well from what we had seen of him in the season before. Most of the other players ended up elevating their performances and he likely would have been another player to do so.

    Anyways, if we were to sell him I highly doubt we’d get 10m in return. I just don’t understand how transfermarkt make their valuations on these players.

  • BEAST

    TransferMarkt is a good website to look up contract length, production and injury history.However valuations is where they go from being informative to ridiculous.Luis Suarez is worth 52m:-)

    • Rizplanet

      i think it’s to be used as just a starting point…

      Teams typically pay upto twice the amount listed for players they need badly if he is in form and has several years in his contract…

      • rudolph

        You’re right about the market values on this website. I have tried to find out what parameters they use to set their MV for a player but haven’t found anything. There are forums on the site that give input from fans and they can be generally closer to what will be ‘bid’ but how they alter the MV is beyond me. As you say generally 50% – 100% uplift is the closer to actual sale price of a player.

      • BEAST

        Rizplanet if a club is willing to pay money for a player that could be the starting point to evaluate.It’s a very vague term.
        The point i was making is the website has inconsistencies in market valuation, if you take the need to guesstimate out of the equation:-7
        Eden Hazard who is rated at 40m which is reasonable and very close to price tag in reality.Others are massively undervalued.

  • NG

    Who’s to say Moreno will fit seamlessly into our beloved Liverpool? Keep Enrique and let them battle for playing time. More games next season means there might be more injury problems… *knock on wood*… Do not sell players unless they are truly surplus to requirements cos we cannot go into next season “barebones” anymore.

    • Rizplanet

      Exactly…. i don’t really think Moreno is an upgrade over Enrique – more of a long term solution (kinda like Agger vs. Sakho probably)…

      I’d like to see Enrique start and use Moreno as and when possible – so we ease Moreno into the team and Enrique out of his injury… you could always sell Enrique 6-12 months down the line…By then, Brad Smith also probably steps up to be a reliable backup…

  • goldsphinix

    i am always bemused by these articles linking players away from liverpool whenever there is speculation about a new signing. the writers at TIA are aware that liverpool will be competing in the champions league next year… right? squad size for proven talent at liverpool was woeful last year, and i get the sense that the new signings aren’t meant to ‘replace’ anyone (which I am sure is a better headline), but to bolster the depth of talent in the squad so liverpool can realistically challenge on at least two fronts (Champions League and Premier league) and possibly on all four (tossing in the FA and League cups).

    • joe mckeown

      Agree with Clubs like Chelsea,Man City Arsenal and at one time ManU Can pretty well field 2 teams of equal quality.

  • joe mckeown

    Pity we couldn’t hold on to Enrique, at least until the January window. If he can get back to his best form he would be an asset with all the extra games next season. I reckon BR will do what’s best for the club though.

  • jon wisby

    Jose’s knees won’t survive our current style.

  • CARR71

    i would rather keep enrique and let him and flanno battle it out than waste all that money on moreno ,whos worse part about is game is his defending

  • gora-gora-xabi-alonso

    Difficult to comment when we know so little of his injury situation. I’d welcome a fully fit Enrique back into the squad. He gives us a couple of options down the left and I’m sure he’d be well suited to European football.

  • Birdman Awal

    you cant put all your eggs in one basket, Moreno is young and who knows how he will cope in his first season, we cant sell Enrique just yet, wait, see how things go with Moreno before selling Enrique, that is common sense.