Brendan Rodgers' arrival at the club may have kicked off an era of relative fitness for the likes of Glen Johnson, Daniel Agger, and Steven Gerrard, but unfortunately for Jose Enrique the impact of Liverpool's new training and sports science staff (HT: janeytee) seen elsewhere doesn't appear to have rubbed off on him.
After being forced off against West Ham over the weekend after only 27 minutes of action when he felt tightness in his hamstring, Enrique has revealed that though the injury wasn't severe, he's still unlikely to be able to face Aston Villa on Saturday.
"I am okay, but I don't know if I'll be ready for the game," said Enrique. "It's nothing bad, but I don't know if I'll be able to play. I've had some treatment and then we will see. I hope I can be fit for the game."
After finding himself out of favour with Rodgers early in the season while persistent injury concerns kept him from being able to show the new manager his best, it's another blow for a player who in recent weeks had rediscovered the form that excited fans when he first arrived at the club.
It will also likely mean another start for Stewart Downing at left back, at least if Andre Wisdom isn't quite ready to return to action and if Rodgers still doesn't trust Jack Robinson's readiness. Downing at least looked capable at left back against West Ham, but with the Hammers content to nurse their lead while occasionally launching long balls down the middle while he was stationed there it was never going to be the most taxing game in defence for Liverpool's fullbacks.
And while another injury blow for Enrique may be personally disappointing for the player, Enrique believes the team is headed in the right direction—and that some of the performances by clubs currently ahead of Liverpool in the table gives further cause for hope.
"We have beaten good teams this season," he said. "The teams at the top have been losing a lot of games, so we have a chance. We're just four points behind the Champions League places and we have a big chance to be there before January finishes.
"We have to take it step-by-step. We are close now and have a good chance. We have two games at home now and we'll try to win them both. Then if we can get some good players in the transfer window, maybe we can do something."