Liverpool fans have been debating since the close of the summer transfer window who the club should sign in January, but less has been said about which players might reasonably see themselves on the way out of the club once the window opens at midnight on January 2. Depending on how things play out, Jose Enrique might be the first departure of Jürgen Klopp's reign.
The Liverpool Echo reported on Wednesday that with the absentee left back's contract expiring this summer, the club must decide whether to buy out the remainder of Enrique's £65,000/week contract or let him go on a free at the end of the season. If they choose to see out the rest of his contract, the Spaniard has been told he's welcome to sign a pre-contract with another club in January.
With Enrique having disappeared off the face of the earth save for an appearance earlier this week with the Liverpool U21 squad, it's a confirmation that was always coming sooner rather than later. Enrique hasn't featured for the senior team for nearly a year, and there are zero signs that he'll be getting a second life under new manager Klopp.
A sizable portion of the Liverpool fanbase won't be sorry to see Enrique leave, with complaints about too much focus on social media and too many vacations topping the list of reasons the player wasn't dedicated enough to the Liverpool cause. But Enrique was also often unfairly criticized for these things; complaints that he should be in giving 157% in training in hopes of getting back into the team often ignored that he was regularly injured for very long spells and physically incapable of training, and his social media accounts gave fans the kind of insight into his life that fans often crave and sometimes demand of their team's players.
Alberto Moreno has been a more than adequate replacement for Enrique at left back, and Klopp's choice to make Brad Smith his deputy in Jon Flanagan's absence points at there being no room for Jose Enrique. Enrique brings out a lot of strong feelings in many people, but few were better in one-on-one situations than he. Once he departs, hopefully the fond memories will remain and some of the more unnecessary vitriol will subside.