|Date of Birth||
23 January 1986
|Place of Birth||
1.84 m (6'0")
José Enrique Sanchez Diaz (born 23 January 1986) is a Spanish footballer who played as a left back for Liverpool from 2011 to 2016.
Liverpool signed José Enrique from Newcastle United for a fee believed to be in the region of £6,000,000 on 12 August 2011. Liverpool were widely expected to sign a new left back in the summer of 2011 following the anticipated sale of Paul Konchesky. José Enrique was widely tipped to be Liverpool's first choice target, and reports of a move surfaced in early 2011, however it was not until the latter stages of the transfer window that Liverpool finally agreed a deal with Newcastle to take Enrique to Anfield.
Upon signing, Enrique said it was "one of the happiest days of my life." He was handed the number 3 shirt, vacated by the departed Konchesky, for the 2011-12 season. He made his debut on 13 August 2011 against Sunderland in a 1-1 stalemate.
He earned the Man of the Match award in just his second Liverpool game - in a 2-0 victory against Arsenal on 20 August 2011. His high tempo and solid all round play have quickly endeared him to the Liverpool faithful, and in both September and October 2011, the fans voted Enrique runner up in the Standard Chartered player of the month award, both times losing out to Kop favourite, Luis Suarez.
Enrique kept his place in the Liverpool starting XI consistently for the remainder of the 2011-12 season, helping the team to its first piece of silverware in six years with victory in the 2012 League Cup Final, however his early season form petered out somewhat as the season reached its end. This coincided with a general slump in form of the Liverpool squad as a whole, as the team succumbed to poor form in the new year. On 1 April 2012, Enrique was forced to play as an emergency goalkeeper for the last ten minutes of Liverpool's 2-0 away defeat to his old club Newcastle. Pepe Reina was sent off for violent conduct after manager Kenny Dalglish had already used all three substitutes, however Enrique did manage to keep a clean sheet for himself.
Enrique began the 2012-13 season, under new boss Brendan Rodgers, largely on the sidelines due to injury. There was also some suggestion that he was unfavoured by Rodgers, however a return to the starting XI in an away 1-1 draw against Chelsea on 11 November 2012 saw him named man of the match and gave new hope to his Liverpool career. He started Liverpool's next game at home to Wigan on 17 November, and was played further forward as a winger. He again impressed and netted his first Liverpool goal as he tapped into an empty net after Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi palmed a Raheem Sterling shot into Enrique's path. Enrique's fine form continued in the coming matches, and this culminated in a Standard Chartered Player of the Month award for November 2012, as voted for by the Liverpool fans.
Enrique netted his second Liverpool goal on 17 February 2013 in a home League match against Swansea. After some neat build-up play involving Enrique himself, Enrique moved into the box to meet a cross from Daniel Sturridge to send the ball past keeper Michel Vorm. Enrique saw out the season as the Red's first-choice left back, as Liverpool finished the season strongly.
Unfortunately for Enrique, injury was to seriously disrupt his 2013-14 season. After making a small number of appearances at the start of the season, knee injuries eventually sidelined him. He was unable to make a recovery, and saw specialists in the United States. It was not until the end of the season that Enrique began to make a return to training, but he was unable to make any further appearances.
He returned to action during Liverpool's 2014-15 pre-season schedule, and made his first competitive appearance since injury on 31 August 2014, as a second half substitute away to Tottenham Hotspur. During the summer however, the Reds had strengthened their left back options with the purchase of Alberto Moreno, seemingly putting Enrique's place in the team under serious threat.
On 22 September 2014, Enrique made his first start in 11 months, playing 120 minutes in a League Cup win against Middlesbrough. Enrique scored his penalty in the shootout win, after a 2-2 draw in which he played a big part in Suso's goal. He made his first Premier League start of the season on 19 October 2014, but made an error leading to a QPR equaliser in a 3-2 win.
After not making a senior appearance since January 2015, Enrique made a return to football on 30 November 2015, starting as a centre back for the U21s as they were beaten 3-2 by Manchester United. On 8 January 2016, Enrique made his return to the first team after almost a year out, starting at centre back in a 2-2 FA Cup draw at Exeter. In the replay, Enrique captained the Reds at Anfield, as they ran out 3-0 winners over Exeter.
On 9 May 2016, Enrique was released by the club despite his contract being set to expire just a month later. The Spaniard had fallen down past Alberto Moreno, Brad Smith, Jon Flanagan, and even James Milner in the pecking order, and hadn't made a Premier League appearance in sixteen months.
Enrique made 99 appearances for the club- 78 of them in his first two campaigns- and netted two goals.
- League Cup: 1 (2012)
- Standard Chartered Player of the Month: 1 (November 2012)
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