With Jose Enrique out injured, many Liverpool fans have assumed a new left back singing in January is on the cards. Particularly given that the manager does not appear to consider loanee Aly Cissokho a viable alternative and resorted to deploying reserve right back Jon Flanagan on the left against Everton, there seems little option but for the club to seek out another fullback when the window opens.
"We think Jose will be a few months," said Brendan Rodgers today, confirming earlier reports that it is likely the left back will miss around ten weeks recovering from his recent knee surgery—a timespan that would suggest a return to training in the last week of January and, with a bit of luck, have him ready for match action some time in February. "It is not a long-term one but will be [until] the new year for sure."
The question, then, is what Liverpool do in the meantime. Rodgers did go on to admit that looking for a left back in January is a possibility, but that still leaves December's seven league matches—including Tottenham, Manchester City, and Chelsea all on the road—to deal with, and by the time January does roll around Enrique's return may be close enough on the horizon to make a new signing seem a little less urgent.
"It's not ideal," added the manager when asked to address the possibility of a new signing. "You would prefer two in there to be challenging. Jose is clearly one of the best left-backs in the league and to have him out is a blow. We brought in cover in Cissokho and you have the likes of Jon Flanagan who can play on both flanks [but] it is certainly something that if Jose is going to be out for a long time we would have to look at it for sure."
As yet there have been no serious rumours linking the club to any fullbacks, though it will surprise no one to see a few dozen names thrown against the wall now Rodgers has admitted the possibility. However, that the manager chose to call Enrique one of the league's best—a year after questioning if there was room for him at Liverpool—one might expect the club to target promise as much as current ability and that the position will remain Enrique's.
As with Glen Johnson on the right, after at times being looked at as one of the club's weak links by some fans, it has been through his recent absences that it has become clear just how important to Liverpool Enrique is—even if he is prone to shutting off at times. Now, what was already one of the toughest, busiest stretches of the season appears even more daunting, and new signings or not, January won't arrive soon enough to change that.