Jose Enrique says Liverpool are just a few wins from being top-four challengers

 

Defender Jose Enrique insists Liverpool are only a couple of wins away from re-establishing themselves as top-four challengers.

A fifth draw in 10 Barclays Premier League matches at home to Newcastle yesterday left Brendan Rodgers' side six points adrift of fourth place.

However, Enrique believes performances like the one against his former club show progress is being made and the situation is not as gloomy as is being made out.

"Of course it's not a good position to be in the table," said the Spaniard in reference to their current 12th place.

"We want to be in the top four and I know that is difficult at the moment as there are many teams above us.

"But if we had beaten Newcastle we would have only been four points behind the Champions League positions.

"It's not that far away. If we were to win three or four games in a row we would be up there."

Key to them achieving that, however, will be their ability to transform their fortunes in front of goal.

So far they have scored just 13 league goals - and five of those came at Norwich - with striker Luis Suarez contributing seven strikes.

Everyone acknowledges that without the Uruguay international, who scored a brilliant equaliser to cancel out Yohan Cabaye's opener at Anfield, Liverpool would be in a much worse position.

Manager Brendan Rodgers is working hard to rectify the situation when the January transfer window opens but in the interim Enrique said it was up to other players to find supplementary goals.

"It was an amazing goal from Luis - the control and finish was 10 out of 10 - but it's no surprise as we know what he can do," said the left-back.

"Every game he does something like this and he's such a key player for us.

"Luis scored a lot of goals in Holland (for Ajax). He had a great record there and we know he will score a lot of goals for us.

"It's a dream to play with someone like him but we can't depend on one player.

"We need more players to score as we can't always look to Luis."

After seeing his form deteriorate over the last 12 months Enrique has been handed a way back into the starting line-up by Glen Johnson's hamstring injury.

But despite the 26-year-old not being fancied by Rodgers he feels the Northern Irishman's style will allow him to regain some of his old spark - as well as help the rest of the team chip in with goals.

"With this manager the style of play is different than we played before," he added.

"We are all getting used to it and every game we are playing better.

"It's great to play like this and it will get us results.

"I use a lot more energy going forward now - against Newcastle I played many times like a striker - as this is the type of football the manager wants from his full-backs.

"Defensively I have less work now than before, I am more of an offensive player

"We need more people in the box. When myself, Glen and Andre (Wisdom) are playing we try to go forward and if you do that you have more chances and more players to score goals.

"Against Newcastle I was able to get forward a lot, like I did when I was playing in Spain.

"I enjoy attacking more than defending. In games like this where we are in control I'm able to attack and try to get into the box."

Rodgers has regularly called for greater goalscoring contributions from his players and feels midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, who had a hat-trick of chances after coming on as a second-half substitute, is the most likely to deliver.

"I think Jonjo can play the advanced role in midfield, I believe that is his best position as he is a goalscoring midfielder," he said.

"Importantly he is getting in there and he is showing when he does arrive in the box he gets chances to score."

Newcastle, in 10th, are only three points ahead of Liverpool but manager Alan Pardew hopes his side can also start to put pressure on the top four with matches against West Ham and Swansea up next.

"We know draws aren't the greatest of results but with the run of games we've got coming up we've put ourselves in a good position," he said.

"Two wins - if we can get them - and we are going to find ourselves in the top five and with two matches at home we have that opportunity."

PA

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