Saturday 21 April 2018

Enrique 'alienated' at Anfield - but in no hurry for move

Liverpool left-back Jose Enrique says he has joined team-mates Mario Balotelli (pictured with Enrique) and Fabio Borini in being 'alienated' by Brendan Rodgers
Liverpool left-back Jose Enrique says he has joined team-mates Mario Balotelli (pictured with Enrique) and Fabio Borini in being 'alienated' by Brendan Rodgers

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool left-back Jose Enrique says he has joined Mario Balotelli and Fabio Borini in being "alienated" by the manager.

Brendan Rodgers wants the trio to leave the club before the transfer window closes, and all three have been informed that they are not part of his plans.

Enrique, signed from Newcastle under Kenny Dalglish in 2011, has suffered numerous injury problems and dips in form over the past three seasons.

He has rejected several offers because none match the financial package or status of being described as a Liverpool player, and has admitted he has rebuffed approaches to return to Spain because of the differences in the economies of both countries.

"The only teams that can deal with what is paid in England are Real Madrid and Barcelona, so I would love to stay here until my legs stop me," Enrique said in an interview with Spanish newspaper Marca. "I had a very good option to return to Spain, but it is complicated because the economy is very different from what exists here."

West Bromwich Albion are among those showing interest in Enrique, but he has suggested being able to call himself a Liverpool player is too much to give away, even though he has little chance of featuring for the last year of his contract.

"What I think is that I will not play in a team better than this," he said. "Liverpool are a match for Manchester United. It is true we haven't won the league for many years, but we must not forget that we have won five European Cups.

"I'm in a difficult position. The club have alienated Balotelli, Borini and me.

"I have a year left on my contract and I imagine the club will want to sell, but I still want to stay and fight as I always have. But if a good offer came with more years of contract and more chance to play, I'd look at it."

Enrique, Balotelli and Borini have been training away from the first-team squad since returning to pre-season work, and it was significant when Rodgers opted to omit them from the summer tour to Australia, Thailand and Malaysia.

Players such as Rickie Lambert - who was perceived as the ultimate professional and a good influence on the rest of the squad - remained with the first team, despite an understanding that he would be leaving Liverpool. He eventually joined West Bromwich Albion for £3million.

The contrast with those left behind was stark, and Rodgers has evidently run out of patience with some of those he considers are surplus to requirements.

Despite recurring links to Serie A clubs, Liverpool anticipate it will be deadline day before any meaningful offers emerge for the players who can leave.

Borini has attracted interest from Fiorentina and was also in discussions with West Ham earlier in the transfer window.

Balotelli has interested Lazio, but a move there could depend on the Italian club's success in their Champions League qualifier.

Enrique's stance makes it clear that unless Liverpool pay up the remaining year of his contract, which will cost somewhere around £2.5m, he sees no reason to depart to a club that cannot match that salary. Enrique suggested that if he stayed at the club, Rodgers would eventually have no choice but to call him up, although he is behind youngster Joe Gomez and Alberto Moreno in the pecking order. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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