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Premier League

Jose Enrique backs Luis Suarez as player of the year, but admits playing for Liverpool doesn't help the striker's cause

The Uruguayan is enjoying his best season at Anfield

Defender Jose Enrique believes Liverpool's league position does not help Luis Suarez's bid to be named player of the year but confirmed the Uruguay international has earned his vote.

In scoring terms, Suarez went two clear of Manchester United's Robin van Persie and five clear of Gareth Bale, who visits Anfield on Sunday with Tottenham, with a hat-trick against Wigan last weekend.

His tally of 21 made him only the third Reds player to break the 20 league goals in a season barrier after Robbie Fowler and Fernando Torres.

However, with United and Spurs currently in Champions League qualification spots Enrique thinks that may help their respective players while Liverpool are playing catch-up in seventh.

"Judging the award is really difficult because a lot of the time it depends on where a team is in the league and Tottenham and Manchester United are both in better positions than us," said the Spaniard.

"Van Persie and Bale are on fire. Van Persie has been a very important player for Manchester United this season and Bale is doing very well - in the last few games, Spurs have won because of Bale's goals.

"It will be difficult for him but, of course, I think he deserves it.

"But Luis is my friend, so I would like him to win the Player of the Year award."

Last weekend's 4-0 rout of Wigan made it back-to-back league wins with nine goals scored and none conceded but the quality of Sunday's opposition means the test posed at Anfield will be far greater.

"I think we are playing well and we must look to continue like this but Tottenham are also playing well," Enrique told liverpoolfc.com.

"We made some additions in January, in Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, and they have given us a lift because they are two good players.

"The aim for us is to try to win as many games as we can. It's going to be really difficult to finish fourth but it won't be impossible.

"We have to start with a performance against Tottenham because they are one of the teams fighting for the same thing as us."

With Champions League qualification still 10 points out of their reach manager Brendan Rodgers has stressed the focus has to be only on the next match and not making a late challenge for the top four.

Winger Stewart Downing is of the same opinion but knows victory over Spurs would be a major boost for their run-in.

"If we can beat them we'll keep chopping away at them," he said.

"There's no point saying we want to finish fifth or sixth, we've just got to try and win our games and see what happens.

"It's going to be a great game. They've got good offensive players and the way we're playing at the minute, we can get goals.

"The way we're playing and the way they're playing, it's set up for a good game. I'm confident we can get a win."