JOSE ENRIQUE has vowed to hold on to his Liverpool FC jersey after revealing the mystery knee injury that threatened to wreck his Anfield career.
Enrique has started the last five Premier League games having fought his way back into the first-team fold under Brendan Rodgers.
The Spaniard had previously started just once in the top flight this season, not helped by a knee complaint that sidelined him for a month.
The 26-year-old was a consistently impressive performer after arriving from Newcastle United in August 2011 only for his form to dip dramatically after the Christmas period.
But left-back Enrique, currently employed in a midfield flank role, is convinced he is now back to his best.
“Football has different moments,” he said. “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.”
Enrique added: “I had some problems with my knee at the start of this season.
“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 okay.
“Then, one day, the pain had just gone. Now I am happy because I am playing. My family comes first but I am playing again now and I am happy.”
Rodgers has previously suggested Enrique was among several players fighting for his future as the Northern Irishman looks to rejuvenate his squad.
But the Spaniard said: “To be honest, you cannot worry about it. I believe in myself. I always have done, no matter what team I have played for.
“Usually I have started as a substitute, then I started playing. Here I was lucky because I signed and played my first game straight away.
“Of course I have spoken to the manager. Every day you have to prove yourself. If you don’t play well, you are on the bench. There are players here waiting to come and take your place.
“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.”
While Enrique profited from his new attacking role by scoring his first goal for Liverpool in the 3-0 home win over Wigan Athletic earlier this month, he sees it only as a temporary switch.
“I like to play there but my position is left-back,” he said. “I am more comfortable there. I have been there all my life in the Premier League.
“I really enjoy attacking. But it just depends where the manager wants me to play. I don’t mind.
“In England, he is the best manager I have had in terms of tactics and everything else. Tactically, he is very Spanish.
“He reminds me of when I had 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.”
Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard is one of 15 midfielders to be nominated for the 2012 FIFPro World XI.
The Liverpool captain joins the likes of Xabi Alonso, Frank Lampard, Yaya Toure and Xavi Hernandez on a shortlist which will be reduced to three in January 2013.