• Premier League

Enrique facing lay-off, Liverpool sack academy staff

ESPN staff
November 21, 2013
Jose Enrique has been missing since the beginning of October © Getty Images

Liverpool defender Jose Enrique is facing a long-term absence with the knee injury that will keep him out of Saturday's Merseyside derby.

The Spanish left-back will need surgery to clear up the problem, which has been troubling him all season, manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed.

Enrique has managed to play only 29 minutes for Rodgers' side since October 5, with summer signing Aly Cissokho filling in.

Rodgers told talkSPORT: "Jose Enrique has been struggling for a little while with an injury. He will probably need an operation. It's a blow for us because he's a very talented player."

The manager first indicated in October that the 27-year-old had been struggling all season with a knee problem.

And Enrique's absence will leave Rodgers short of options on the left side of defence.

Frenchman Cissokho, brought in on a season's loan from Valencia in the summer, is set for a lengthy run in the side.

But with Jack Robinson, another left-back, out on loan at Blackpool, Rodgers would be likely to ask right-back Glen Johnson to switch sides if anything happened to Cissokho.

Johnson played at left-back for Liverpool in the early weeks of last season, with Martin Kelly playing on the right.

Central defender Mamadou Sakho filled in at left-back in the 1-0 Premier League defeat at home to Southampton on September 21, but looked uncomfortable in the role.

Meanwhile, the club have sacked academy director Frank McParland and academy technical director Rodolfo Borrell as they overhaul their youth set-up.

McParland, appointed to his role by Rafa Benitez in 2009, had previously served as the club's chief scout.

Borrell was brought to Liverpool by Benitez initially as an Under-18 coach, also in 2009, having spent 13 years at Barcelona's Academy, where he helped to oversee the development of Lionel Messi. The Spaniard was then promoted to Under-21 manager before becoming technical director in November 2012.

Liverpool have refused to comment on the departures, but sources have told ESPN that McParland and Borrell were informed on Wednesday that they would be leaving.

Both men had played a key role in producing a number of young players for the first team. Seven Academy graduates made their senior debuts last season, as Suso, Andre Wisdom, Adam Morgan, Samed Yesil, Jerome Sinclair and Conor Coady all broke into the side.

That was partly out of necessity, though, as manager Brendan Rodgers had to manage a small squad to deal with a fixture list that included the demands of the Europa League.

Rodgers has since recruited extensively, and has fewer games to plan for as Liverpool are not in European competition this season.

And so of the seven youngsters to break through last term, only Wisdom - who has since joined Championship side Derby on loan - and Ibe have featured for the first team this season.

But Suso has impressed on loan at Spanish Primera Liga side Almeira this season, while Yesil has been recovering from cruciate knee ligament damage sustained in January. Coady is continuing his education on a six-month loan at League One side Sheffield United.

McParland and Borrell can also take credit for the development of Martin Kelly, Raheem Sterling, Jon Flanagan and Jack Robinson, who all made it from the youth set-up to the senior squad under their watch.

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