Perhaps last season, when he first arrived at Liverpool on form, physically dominating opponents week in and week out with a rare combination of power and pace, some of his shortcomings were easier to overlook. Now, instead, some of those shortcomings can seem to quite easily overshadow what Enrique can do very, very well when he's on his game. And against Chelsea on Sunday, Jose Enrique was very much on his game.
He still, as has been the case since day one, tends to linger on the ball for far too long and to take too many touches—especially when Liverpool has the ball in midfield. It's the flaw in his game that has kept him out of the running for the Spanish national team over the years despite his physical gifts, and it leads to a feeling that Enrique only really shines when he's able to play instinctively, his merits fading when time and space provide room for more considered actions.
It's a flaw, too, that tends to stand out more under Brendan Rodgers than it did under Kenny Dalglish—at least when Enrique was playing well in the early going. Regardless of that, Sunday's game was Enrique back to his best of last autumn, even if a year on from his arrival and with many having become disillusioned by his play in the second half of last season some will come away from the sort of performance that at one time would have seen him praised instead maintaining he isn't the answer.
That may well be the case, at least if a season training under Rodgers doesn't lead to significant growth in the tactical side of his game. Whatever one's view on that question, though, it would be unfair to not at least recognise that Enrique put in a performance at Stamford Bridge on Sunday that a year ago would have been seen as further confirmation of his quality. For that he deserves praise, even if whether it's the sort of performance that will keep him in Brendan Rodgers' plans may be another issue entirely.