I want to play for Liverpool for a long, long time, says José Enrique

This Is Anfield - Liverpool

José Enrique believes he still has a long-term future at Liverpool despite falling out of favour with Brendan Rodgers earlier in the season.

The Spaniard has started the last five league games for the first team, impressing in a more advanced role against Swansea City and Wigan Athletic after a difficult 2012 in which a loss of form and change of manager cost him a regular place. José Enrique was also troubled by a mysterious knee injury at the start of the season and found his commitment questioned by Rodgers, who asked publicly in September whether the former Newcastle left-back and Stewart Downing had "the desire and hunger to succeed" at Anfield.

José Enrique insists he has no issue with the Liverpool manager's comments and hopes recent performances have shown he can recapture the fine form that accompanied his £5.5m move in August 2011. The 26-year-old said: "You cannot worry about it [Rodgers' warning], to be honest. I believe in myself. I always have done, no matter what team I have played for.

"Football has different moments. Now I feel as if I am playing well and I hope I can continue like this. The most important thing is to help the team as much as possible. Last year, until December, I really played well. I don't know why my form dropped after that. But now I feel as if I am doing well again. You don't live off what you have done before in football, you live in the now and I am trying to do my best. I want to be here for a long time. This is the biggest club I have ever played for. The fans are amazing, I am really happy in the city. I want to play here for a long, long time."

Rodgers has preferred to switch Glen Johnson and Downing to left-back ahead of José Enrique, who was more concerned with the knee problem that hindered attempts to impress. "I wasn't really thinking about my future at the time," he said. "When you are a player, all you want to do is play, but I was frustrated at the start because we didn't really know what was wrong with my knee. I had this pain but in the scan everything was showing OK. Then, one day, the pain had just gone. Now I am happy because I am playing."

Despite his problems, José Enrique believes the Liverpool manager is the best coach he was worked with since moving from Villarreal in 2007. The defender added: "He is the best manager I have had in England in terms of tactics and everything else. Tactically, he is very Spanish. He reminds me of [Manuel] Pellegrini at Villarreal. He really likes Spanish players, those who give him 100% every game. He has a mentality like a Spanish manager and I really like that."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Andy Hunter, for The Guardian on Monday 26th November 2012 22.30 Europe/London

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