Belfast Telegraph

Enrique expects Reds improvements

Liverpool's newest signing Jose Enrique made a good impression on his debut but has promised there is plenty more to come.

The Spaniard found out less than 24 hours after his £6million signing from Newcastle that he would be starting in Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Sunderland because of an injury to Fabio Aurelio. Enrique hardly put a foot wrong and it was not immediately apparent he had been involved in just one training session prior to his appearance at Anfield.

"I am very happy because I only arrived the day before and I played my first game," he said. "I was surprised. I only found out a few hours before kick-off. I knew Fabio had not trained but it was only in the morning they told me. I am very happy (with my debut) but I am not really happy with the result."

Enrique added: "I think in the next few games, if I continue to play, it will be easy to understand players of this quality. It was just about defending first, because that is my job. I have plenty more days to train with the team and understand."

Luis Suarez, who only returned to training on Monday, put the hosts ahead in the 12th minute, nipping in at the near post to head another new signing Charlie Adam's inswinging free-kick past Simon Mignolet.

However, he had already wasted a glorious opportunity to put his side ahead when he ballooned over a fifth-minute penalty having been brought down by Kieran Richardson. The Sunderland defender was lucky to only receive a yellow card as Suarez has gone around Mignolet but referee Phil Dowd showed leniency.

Andy Carroll had a goal ruled out while Stewart Downing, the third of four summer arrivals who made their debuts, saw his shot crash back off the crossbar after a driving run from inside his own half but Liverpool failed to capitalise on their dominance.

They appeared to tire in the second half and Sunderland seized their chance with Sebastian Larsson brilliantly volleying home Ahmed Elmohamady's deep cross.

Enrique admitted it would take some time for the whole side to gel and get up to speed in terms of match fitness.

"We have to think about the next game," he said. "We need more fitness but that is normal, as it is only the first game. I am okay. I am not 100% because I have not trained with the team and I need to get to know everyone. That is normal."

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