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Jose Enrique: Skrtel Will Bounce Back

Despite his own rocky start to the season, Jose Enrique feels his experiences this year are proof positive that an out of favour player like Martin Skrtel can find his way back into the first team.

This hair cut needed more page views.
This hair cut needed more page views.
Gareth Copley

In the home team dressing room at Anfield, kits are hung up and grouped by position: defenders sit with defenders, midfielders with midfielders, and strikers with strikers. Given a natural inclination to want to sit with one's friends on the team, organizing by position compels players to build an understanding with those who will spend most of the match by their side.

For Jose Enrique this means being in a unique position to understand what fellow defender Martin Skrtel might be going through as an out of favour player in Brendan Rodgers' first team. Benched to make room for an in-form Jamie Carragher, Skrtel has already vowed to fight for his place on the team, and Enrique believes it's only a matter of time before the Slovak returns to form.

"I think we have one of the best centre-backs in the league in Martin Skrtel," said Enrique. "Like every player he has not had a good season this year but last season he was player of the season for us. For me when he comes on he will be top-class again for sure."

Despite the rumours still swirling about Skrtel's possible departure from Merseyside in the summer, and aside from the comments about fighting for his place, Skrtel has been tight lipped about his relegation to the bench and what affect that will have on his future with the club. Enrique was quick to offer the parallel of his own ups and downs this season, stressing that even when he was personally out of favour with Rodgers, he never thought about plying his trade elsewhere.

"In my case it was the start of the season and it was not really good but when the manager told me [he would be dropped from the line-up] I didn't think to go," the Spaniard continued. "From the start I tried as hard as I could and sometimes it is good for someone to tell you the bad things you don't want to hear. This, to be honest, woke me up and now I am playing well."

"You think you can go to another club but if you talk about the fans, the stadium, things inside the club — things people don't see that the players see every day — like the people work for us make us as good as we can then I don't think at any other club the treatment will be better than here."

The prospect of working with players with deep connections to the club was one of the draws that brought Enrique to Anfield in the first place.

"[Carragher, Gerrard, and Suarez] are players that have amazing history at the club and I want to try to be like them in the future here," Enrique said in an interview with the club's website. "You have to respect the past Carra has here. He's a player who has played 700 games. It's not lucky, he deserves it. He has been an amazing player for Liverpool for many years and he's an example for any player here."

With Carra vacating his spot in the dressing room in three short weeks, Skrtel will have a renewed opportunity to stake his claim on a starting centre back position. Whether his affection for the club's storied past can help keep him sharing bench space with Jose Enrique remains to be seen, but it's clear that at least one of his colleagues still has faith in him even if it's in short supply with his manager.

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