The arrival of Alberto Moreno may make a place in the starting eleven harder to come by, but after a year spent largely on the sidelines all Jose Enrique wants to focus on is how great it is to be playing again. He participated in Liverpool's fitness friendly against Wolves on Friday, and to say he's happy about it would be an understatement.
"It was difficult," said Enrique of his time away from playing. "I didn’t know at which point I’d be back, so psychologically it was really hard for me. Luckily, this is all in the past. I’ve always appreciated football, I’ve always loved training and I’ve always loved playing even more. But now, every time I go into training, I am like a child getting back with the team.
"Last year, I came to train alone all of the time while my teammates were outside. For a long time, I was alone and training in the gym because I was injured. Now I am training with my teammates again, I feel like the happiest guy in the world. I want to play, but I am so happy just to be back and training.
"We had a friendly at Melwood recently and I looked forward to it like it was a Premier League game. Ten months without playing is a long, long time. I have been training every day, but games are completely different, so these types of friendlies are fantastic. I feel like a child right now, I am so happy."
Liverpool's next three matches, against Aston Villa and West Ham in the league and Ludogorets in the Champions League, will see Moreno start if fit, leaving Enrique to find happiness in being able to train with the team again. The League Cup match against Middlesbrough on September 23rd, though, could be his chance to start again.
It would be also be a chance for Liverpool fans to perhaps reacquaint themselves with Jose Enrique at something like his best again. Enrique has, when fit, generally been a solid presence at fullback, but the player believes that even before his struggles with injuries last year, it's been some time since he's delivered at the level he believes he's capable of.
"To get to your maximum level, it depends a lot on the confidence of the player," he added. "I think it’s the most important thing. You see players have an amazing season and then have a bad season. People say, ‘why is that?’ but it’s all about confidence. Players don’t go from being the best to the worst in one year, it’s about confidence.
"I am still trying to get [back] to my best and I want to get that confidence. When I arrived here, for the first six months I felt I played well and I want to get to that level. And I will get there, I know that."