Depth and quality at the fullback position has seemingly always been a priority for Liverpool, and this past summer was the first that it seemed as though they delivered. The purchase of Alberto Moreno and loan to (maybe) buy deal for Javier Manquillo gave the squad fullbacks that, while young, had quality and the ability to deliver now, and on the heels of a fantastic season for Jon Flanagan and a summer that saw them retain the services of Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique, finally gave Liverpool a number of options in a position that's previously been worryingly threadbare.
Injuries and form have left the new arrivals as the clear frontrunners in their first season on Merseyside, with Enrique disappointing in the appearances he has made before suffering another knee injury and on the outside looking in for much of the season. As his fitness improves and Liverpool look ahead to the end of the 2014 calendar year, hwoever, Enrique is looking forward to playing a part in Brendan Rodgers' side:
"We have to win in the Champions League. There are no excuses now - we have to win to stay in the Champions League. The focus is on the Premier League because it's the most important competition, but we and the fans have been waiting for the Champions League for so long. It's the first time I have played in the tournament and I'm so happy. I was disappointed that I couldn't play against Real Madrid.Hopefully we can keep going and play in the Champions League again next season because it's the best competition for a footballer to play.
"We didn't want to take a risk because of my injury last season. But now it is gone and I've been training with the team - I'm feeling great. You are never ready for these types of injuries, because as a footballer you just want to play. It was really difficult for me, mentally. But it is in the past and it makes you appreciate what you do even more and how much you enjoy playing football. I'm so happy to be back again. We have so many games and play in so many competitions, you can see everyone is getting games and opportunities. When I have mine, I have to take it."
His last appearance wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement for additional minutes, and along with Johnson, Enrique looks firmly second-choice behind one of Liverpool's newly-arrived Spanish fullbacks. In the case of Enrique it's Moreno, who's looked excellent for most of the season, and while rest and recovery will be a priority for the still-developing Moreno, he's clearly ahead of Enrique on the depth chart at the present moment. And with Flanagan set to return in the next month, there's an argument to be made that the 21-year-old is either first-choice on the right or backup on either side ahead of the more senior fullbacks.
Chances will come for Enrique, though, if only because of the crowded fixture list, and hopefully when the time comes he's both healthy and effective enough to have a positive impact.