Jose Enrique of Liverpool during the UEFA Champions League

José Enrique Interview

Dazn Bet meets with ex-Premier League defender and Newcastle United Player of the Season for 2009–10, José Enrique. José tells us about his thoughts on the current state of his former clubs and their chances going forward.


José Enrique on Liverpool F.C in 2023

Q. Were you frustrated that Liverpool weren’t able to score a goal at the Bernabeu?

Liverpool got what they deserved because the performance was nowhere near good enough. They started well for 5-10 minutes but then Real Madrid should have won 2-0 or 3-0 in the end. I did not expect this performance from Liverpool, I expected more from the players because there is nothing to lose when you’re 5-2 down on aggregate. Liverpool were offensively and defensively poor, but it did feel like a one percent chance to go through anyway so that’s not the worry, but the actual performance was a concern.

I could not have wished for a better Liverpool lineup, maybe Roberto Firmino in front of Diogo Jota but that’s about it. Jurgen Klopp played 4-2-3-1 which is what I wanted, four attackers going for it but Real Madrid ran the game with Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr. But you always have that hope to get through despite the odds, Liverpool did it in 2005 and against Barcelona a few years back.

Q. Jamie Carragher said after the game that Alexander-Arnold is not the right back for Liverpool in these games when they need to defend better, he’s suggested Liverpool go buy another right back, what do you make of that?

Liverpool definitely need to go buy another right back because Trent Alexander-Arnold is the only player who can play in that position and it’s important to have players challenging each other. Calvin Ramsey is injured and very young, Alexander-Arnold needs proper competition for the spot. But you can’t talk poorly about the best fullback in the world from 2019-2021, Alexander-Arnold has not forgotten how to play football. He was possibly never a world-class defender but he is a world-class fullback, probably the best in the world, if not the top three. He’s 23-years-old, won everything he can with Liverpool, it could be he’s got comfortable and knows he’ll play because there’s no competition. Liverpool need to go out there and spend a bit of money of a player to give Alexander-Arnold that competition, like how Konstantinos Tsimikas gives Andy Robertson competition at left back.

Q. Liverpool’s next game is against Manchester City on 1st April, are you worried about going to the Etihad?

Not just Manchester City, but Chelsea and Arsenal after will be the games that determine if Liverpool reach top four or not. Brighton and Brentford won in midweek, so even the top six will be difficult to compete for. If Liverpool don’t have European football, they can’t attract as many players. Football can change very quickly, if Liverpool are able to get seven points from Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal then they will have a great chance of getting into the top four. It is worrying going to the Eithad, that’s the problem now with this Liverpool team, other teams used to be scared of us, but now anyone believes they can beat Liverpool. I’ll always back Liverpool to win! I predict a 2-1 win for Liverpool.

Q. With Luis Diaz back, how confident are you of getting top four? And who does he replace in the front three if he comes back into the side?

Luis Diaz coming back is a good problem for Liverpool to have, but we have to see how fit he is from his serious injury. If Diaz is back to his best, I believe he definitely starts in the front three. Darwin Nunez is a striker and not a winger, but Jurgen Klopp seems to prefer someone he feels is better on the ball down the middle like Cody Gakpo. Nunez can’t do what Gakpo, Roberto Firmino or Diogo Jota can at striker with close control, that very top level of passing and dribbling. I would prefer a front three of Diaz, Gakpo and Mohamed Salah. But I believe Klopp will play Diaz, Nunez and Salah.

Q. Mason Mount looks set to leave Chelsea this season, could Liverpool be the perfect destination for him and could he be Klopp’s Gini Wijnaldum replacement?

Mason Mount and Gini Wijnaldum are different players, Mount is more offensively minded and Wijnaldum is that midfielder who can run the whole game and help the defence. But Mount would be an unbelievable signing for Liverpool, his ability with the ball is really good, has a hard work rate, finds the last pass and can score goals which would take pressure off the Liverpool front three. I’d really like Mount to join at Liverpool, even if he isn’t Wijnaldum’s replacement.

Q. Can Klopp get the best out of Mount like Tuchel did?

Graham Potter did a great job at Brighton and Chelsea are trying to have a lot of patience with him like how Arsenal did with Mikel Arteta. Potter will be successful, but he has no comparison to Jurgen Klopp. Potter has not yet done well at Chelsea and Klopp is one of the best managers in the world. I did not understand the Thomas Tuchel sacking, I think Todd Boehly wanted to show his power and wanted to do things his way. I don’t think you can compare Potter to Tuchel, certainly not yet. Tuchel is perhaps in the bracket with Arteta, just below Pep Guardiola and Klopp.

Q. If Liverpool don’t get top four, how hard will it be to sign Bellingham? If you feel he won’t come to Liverpool, will you be hoping he plays outside the Premier League, perhaps would you rather see him go to Real Madrid if Liverpool can’t sign him?

I would much prefer Jude Bellingham went to Real Madrid if Liverpool can’t sign him. Bellingham would be top signing for any club in the world, so I’d hope Manchester City or Manchester United don’t sign him. Everyone will want Bellingham, but it depends who can afford him. He’ll have many world-class teams waiting to bring him in and the fee is going to be massive. Manchester United will get top four so that can help attract him, Ilkay Gundogan is finishing his contract soon so Bellingham would be the perfect replacement. So I’d 100% want Real Madrid to sign him first.

Q. Does the Bellingham race add on pressure to get top four?

Napoli found Khvicha Kvaratskhelia for £10 million and he’s one of the best players in Serie A. Liverpool signed Sadio Mane from Southampton, Gini Wijnaldum from Newcastle, Mohamed Salah from Roma, and there will be very good players out there that are cheaper than Jude Bellingham. I feel Liverpool need three new midfielders, a new right winger, a new right back, and maybe a new centre back, should they really be signing Bellingham for £100 million or more if they want to sign more players? If Bellingham doesn’t come, there are still very good players out there that can become world-class under Jurgen Klopp. The most worrying thing for the supporters is if FSG are going to spend money this summer, it’s more of a worry than reaching top four.

José Enrique on Newcastle United

Q. Newcastle play away to Nottingham Forest tonight, what’s your score prediction and how do you see the game going?

Newcastle deserve to get top four, the problem could be the quality in the final third of the pitch. Newcastle have been world-class defensively and how they press as a team. But they have lacked that quality in front of goal. I love Allan Saint-Maximin but I don’t think he suits the style of Newcastle now, they lose the pressure of their press with him playing. I believe the players can improve and get Newcastle top four, despite the team not being as good since the World Cup. I predict them to beat Nottingham Forest 2-1.

Q. What are your thoughts on Anthony Gordon so far? Has he shown his worth as yet?

I want to see more of Anthony Gordon, I loved watching him at Everton. But he’s not shown he’s worth his price tag yet because he’s not playing enough. He’s only 22-years-old and a project. £45 million is a big fee. This is however, the kind of fees for players at these ages now though, look at Alexander Isak, Newcastle paid £70 million for him even though he scored six goals for Real Sociedad last season. I hope Gordon plays more in the team and shows that he suits the Newcastle style soon and proves his worth.

José’s thoughts on other teams

Q. Would you rather see Arsenal win the league over Manchester City? Who do you think most Liverpool fans would rather see win the League?

As a former Liverpool player and fan, I’d much prefer Arsenal to win the league over Manchester City because of the rivalry over the past few years between the clubs. As a neutral fan, I’d also want Arsenal to win because Manchester City have won four out of the last five Premier League titles, so it would be something different. The only fans who won’t want Arsenal to win the title is Tottenham and perhaps Chelsea fans.

I don’t care if Arsenal feel the same pain as Liverpool did when they got caught by Manchester City and lost the Premier League title. Manchester City are having a poor season by their extremely high standards, but they’re still second and chasing Arsenal, they’re used to this whereas Arsenal are not used to getting chased. I believe Arsenal will do it, they deserve it and it would be great for the Premier League.

Q. What do you think is the future for Sergio Gomez, does he need to leave Manchester City?

Ake seemingly plays in front of him and it seems Man City might be trying to sign a new left back in the summer.

Sergio Gomez could not turn down the Manchester City move before joining. Nathan Ake is doing a very good job at left-back, if Pep Guardiola wanted to believe in Gomez he would be giving him more minutes. If Manchester City go for another left-back in the summer, then that’s telling Gomez that his time is up. Right now, Gomez is still young and has the potential, he should wait for his opportunity and work hard if they don’t sign another left-back. It’s hard to play for a world-class team like Manchester City.

Q. Is Casemiro a liability for how frequently he gets sent off?

I feel Casemiro has been unlucky with the sending-offs recently, but it was a red card against Southampton and I don’t see how anyone can say otherwise. But Casemiro is not a liability to this Manchester United team, he’s changed the mentality of the squad and made them into winners. Without him, Manchester United would not be in the same position as they are now. He’s a world-class midfielder who has won everything.

Casemiro obviously does not want to get sent off, he misjudged a tackle and fouled the player. But he needs to get used to the Premier League where teams are more competitive, it’s not the same as La Liga where Real Madrid and Barcelona are superior to all the other teams in the league. There is players worth £25m-£30m in every team in the Premier League so it will be harder, it’s the best league in the world. Maybe Manchester United should sign another defensive midfielder who can replace Casemiro in certain games when he’s been sent off or has injuries.

Q. Does Harry Kane need to leave Tottenham so he can get the same attention that Haaland gets?

Erling Haaland is getting more headlines than Harry Kane because he plays for a bigger club. If Harry Kane played for a bigger club like Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City, you will get more headlines and when you score, everyone knows it. It’s not the same with Tottenham, but obviously, Haaland deserves the praise he is getting. Kane is doing an amazing job too, but Haaland is known as the ‘robot’ for a reason. If Kane joined Manchester United, every team would be saying how world-class and how good of a striker he is, that’s what happens when you play for a big club. The problem Kane has now is that all the top clubs that need a striker now want to sign Victor Osimhen. Maybe Kane can go to Real Madrid because Karim Benzema is getting older, but I suspect it may be the case that no other club from foreign countries can afford Kane. If Kane goes to a club like Chelsea then his legacy at Tottenham could be ruined. Manchester United feels a destination where Tottenham fans can’t complain because they can go on to win the biggest trophies.