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Premier League

Jose Enrique targets Champions League with Liverpool


Defender Jose Enrique believes Liverpool are good enough to secure Champions League qualification this season and re-establish themselves as one of Europe's top sides.

The Reds could move level with fourth-placed Chelsea with a win over Newcastle tonight.

And while this season has not been straightforward - drawing six of their nine home games and scoring just 21 times in the league - Enrique is encouraged by the progress being made.

"I think we can do better, I think we can be in the Champions League positions," said the summer signing who is set to face his former club.

"But the league is so hard because Manchester City and Manchester United are better than us.

"I think in the summer we started to sign players again and spend a lot of money and I think this club in the future will become one of the best again.

"I really enjoy it here because it is easy to play with the players that are here: players like Maxi Rodriguez, Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez.

"When you have players like that around you it is easy to play with them and I really enjoy it. I am happy here."

The Spaniard had four good years in the north-east, one of which was spent in the second tier of English football after relegation in 2009.

And despite criticising the club for their lack of ambition after selling the likes of Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan, Enrique believes he paid his dues in full to the Magpies.

"I hope they (the fans) understand," said the 25-year-old.

"I gave 100% and no-one can say anything different.

"I played in the Championship for them when they dropped down because I thought it was my mistake too.

"I had some very good moments there. I wish them the best because they have amazing fans there and it is an amazing city.

"But you cannot say no when a team like Liverpool comes for you. We are maybe not in the best position now but it one of the best teams in Europe."

For the second successive match manager Kenny Dalglish faces one of his former sides, having drawn at home to Blackburn on Boxing Day.

The Scot has been impressed by the start they have made this season.

"They collected a lot of points early doors and I know it's tailed off a bit now but that's because they probably have had a harder run of fixtures than they did at the start of the season, but they are up there and have done fantastically well," he said.

"They were active in the transfer window and brought a few people in.

"Demba Ba would obviously be the one who has been the big success. They took a chance on him I would imagine after he failed a medical at Stoke.

"(Manager) Alan Pardew took that chance which was brave of him and he has been rewarded."