The Spanish left-back is the primary defender on that side of Liverpool’s defence, only out of the side at the moment owing to an operation he underwent during the international break.
Enrique has made seven appearances for Liverpool in the Premier League so far this season, producing two assists and giving the side a balance which allows Brendan Rodgers to use a 3-5-2 style formation.
However, Fairclough, who played for the club between 1975 and 1983, has suggested the 27-year-old is fundamentally flawed with several weaknesses which have stopped him from getting into the Spanish national side.
“I feel people have been misled by Liverpool’s first-choice left back. I look at what we have got from his service down the left and he is too predictable,” Fairclough writes on 5times.co.
The Spaniard’s stats so far this season are actually fairly decent with a passing success rate of 80.3% which is based on league games this season, including an average 42.9 passer game.
Defensively he’s getting stuck in with 1.4 tackles per game and he’s showing a decent ability to read the game with 1.3 interceptions per match, as well as making 2.9 clearances per game so far this campaign.
“He is so one-footed and I think he closes himself down when he gets into a corner, he doesn’t get himself out of tight situations – I think that is why he hasn’t forced himself into the Spanish squad,” adds Fairclough.
The criticism is a little bit harsh when considering that Jose Enrique hasn’t always been used as a straight up left-back this season.
Since Brendan Rodgers deployed the 3-5-2 style formation at the club, Enrique has had to play as a left sided midfielder, just as much as a left-back which is not his primary role or something that he’s perfectly suited to.
Injuries mean he’s had to try and support the left side of midfield over being allowed to settle into a left-back role in a solid Liverpool back four.
As for his chances of playing for Spain, yes they are bleak because while Enrique is a perfectly good left-back and footballer, he’s behind Jordi Alba, one of the best left-backs in the world playing for one of the best teams in Barcelona.
Enrique is a very solid and decent left-back who will most likely go straight back into the team when he returns to full fitness.
What do you think? Does Fairclough have a point?
image: © dannymol