Jose Enrique: Former Liverpool player says Premier League return cannot be 100 per cent safe
Enrique: "If I was a player, I would be happy to play. Other ex-players agree with me, and I believe the players will be more controlled."
By Fraser Dainton, Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 16/05/20 7:18am
Former Liverpool defender Jose Enrique says he would be keen to return to action as soon as possible if he was still playing - but there's no way it can be 100 per cent safe.
The Spaniard, who spent five years at Anfield between 2011 and 2016, is desperate to see the Premier League season completed and the Reds win a first league title in 30 years, but only if everyone is satisfied that conditions are right.
"For me, health is the most important thing," he told Sky Sports News. "But if I was a player, I would be happy to play.
"Obviously, everyone will say you're not playing anymore, and it's easy to say - but I believe I would do. Other ex-players agree with me, and I believe the players will be more controlled.
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"They will be having tests almost every day. If something happens and a player gets coronavirus, they are already planning for how they are going to handle it."
With the UK government this week opening the door for football to return, clubs are now stepping up their preparations for a possible re-start in June - and Enrique is fully behind the idea.
"It's not just the players who are suffering, it's the clubs who are suffering economically, the fans who are suffering mentally if they can't support and watch the team," he said.
"In my opinion, I believe they should do everything to restart the game. But if things don't go well, and you have to stop it again, then fair enough.
"It's a very difficult situation, but I think they should give it a go and see where it goes."
However, the 34-year-old is also adamant everything possible must be done to minimise the risk.
"They can assure you it will be as safe as possible - but they can't assure you it will be 100 per cent safe," he said. "You can get it anywhere - in the supermarket, on the street, even if you keep your distance. It's everywhere.
"But they can do as many tests as possible, before and after games - these players have families as well - you go home and have your kids there. So it's not just your health, but also your family.
"So try to get as many tests as possible, and if they have it, go in to quarantine for two weeks. I believe that's the way to go. If I was a player, and they can assure me of this, I would be happy to play."
Enrique believes it is vital for the Premier League to get going again, but not just to confirm a league title win for Jurgen Klopp's side.
"You know how fans are - if they give us the league now, they will say you really didn't win it!" he said. "I can't wait for them to lift the title.
"Whoever doesn't recognise they deserve to win the title, they don't understand football. They've been completely different to every single team in the league, not just in terms of points, but the way they have played.
"But it's about other teams as well - who finishes in the Champions League, who goes in the Europa League, relegation and promotion. We're talking about so much money, and so many feelings of the people.
"So I believe we should finish it, so it's fair for everyone."
Enrique has been hugely impressed by what Liverpool have achieved this season, with the spirit the team has shown being the biggest reason as to why they are so far ahead of everyone else.
"The difference has been incredible, no one expected it, with all the good teams in the Premier League that could fight for the title," he said.
"I heard Jurgen Klopp say in an interview - and I completely agree with him - that in some games you could see the team wasn't playing well, but they're still winning.
"And that's what a winning team is. You see it with Real Madrid and Barcelona, when they win everything. Even when they're not playing well, you are confident they will score.
"That's the same with Liverpool, going in to every game, the confidence is that we will win. But 25 points? It's too much! It's crazy really!"
And for those Liverpool fans who are considering congregating around Anfield when the title is won, he has a simple message - don't!
"So many people are excited, it's been a long time waiting," he said. "People will be so tempted to go outside and celebrate, that's normal - but please - don't do anything like that. Don't get in any trouble!
"If we win the trophy there will be a time to celebrate, but not now. If football re-starts, don't be outside the stadium together - if they do that - they will cancel football again.
"Please, respect the authorities and let's enjoy football at home. It's what we have to do right now."