Let's address some myths over Jose Enrique's big strengths going forward, shall we?
The left-back is often acclaimed as being a progressive, strong, rapid full-back who troubles the opposition defence with his runs with the ball, surges toward the byline to stretch defences and links up effectively with the front men.
In short, that he is a massive threat going forward for the team.
Here's a very quick key statistical breakdown of Jose Enrique this season in the Premier League:
|1762 ||2 ||4
For a left-back—especially one who hadn't previously scored in the league—two goals and four assists is not a bad return at all. That should be rightfully acknowledged, and any effective replacement is going to have to do as well, or better.
But it tells far from the whole story.
Exactly how much of a creative threat is Jose Enrique? Not much, as it turns out. In his 23 league appearances this season, he has produced exactly 19 chances for his teammates—less than one per start (20 starts, three appearances off the bench).
That is less than Jordan Henderson, less than Stewart Downing, less than the oft-derided Joe Allen and far less than fellow full-back Glen Johnson (38).
Perhaps one reason for this—and read carefully, for given the nature of the team and the tactics Brendan Rodgers seeks to employ, this alone should make him a prime candidate for sale this summer—is his relatively atrocious ability to consistently pass the ball well.
Jose Enrique has the worst pass completion rate, bar none, out of any outfield Liverpool player to have started eight or more league games this season.
The only players to suffer an overall worse rate, taking into account everybody in the squad, are the two goalkeepers (who play more longer, therefore are more likely to commit unsuccessful, passes), Andy Carroll (played a total of 18 minutes) and Philippe Coutinho (only seven starts, therefore fewer passes, which count as a greater percentage each).
In the final third, where Jose is expected and supposed to have such a big impact, his pass completion rate drops to a frankly unbearable 61 percent. Compare that to the team average of 73 percent over more than 5000 passes and right-back Glen Johnson's 72 percent.
Also, Jose's crosses—and Liverpool are decidedly not a crossing team any more—are appalling. He has managed to find a teammate from a grand total of five crosses this season. Five. In 1762 minutes. His percentage of accurate crosses is worse than Johnson's, worse than Raheem Sterling's and far worse than the three reliable crossers in the team—Downing, Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard.
Final third threat? Or final third liability?
His intolerable, interminable unwillingness to release the ball early frequently costs Liverpool the chance to capitalise on fast-moving attacks, delaying a pass until all tempo and options are lost.
Frequently his raids down the left end when he finds himself up against two or more defenders, having passed up the chance to play the ball infield earlier, and he in the end needs to turn back on himself to shield the ball and, ultimately, face going backward or lose the ball. This happens multiple times in most matches.
Sure, Liverpool might retain the ball if he turns back to Lucas, or Daniel Agger, but the momentum of attacks are lost.
His pace and power do, nonetheless, ensure that he has a chance of joining attacks quickly and offering support to teammates, and also enabling him to outstrip opposition defences at a sprint. What comes at the end of those dribbles, however, is often not as impressive.