Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has told Stewart Downing and Jose Enrique they face a fight to save their Anfield careers after the former-Swansea boss questioned their attitude and desire.
Downing and Enrique have both played bit-part roles so far this season, and both were expensive acquisitions under former Reds boss Kenny Dalglish.
England international Downing became Liverpool’s fourth highest transfer fee in the club’s history when he made his £20m switch from Aston Villa.
But Downing has struggled to cement a place in the team, and following the arrival of Rodgers, was told he may have to reinvent himself as a left-back.
Enrique joined the Reds in a £7m deal from Newcastle, and although he started positively at Anfield, his recent form has tailed off considerably.
The Spanish fullback has suffered with injury, but even after he returned to the squad, Rodgers preferred to deploy right-back Glen Johnson in Enrique’s position rather than recall the Spaniard to the starting 11.
And the Liverpool boss made it clear he values desire and self-motivation, and those lacking the required qualities will be moved on.
“We will give them everything to help them to be better, but if they don’t want to show that self-motivation – and if they haven’t got that desire and hunger to succeed – then it can be very difficult. Stewart is a good guy but it hasn’t quite worked out for him as he would want it,” said Rodgers in the Daily Mail.
“The big challenge for him now is that commitment to the cause – to fight – because he has the qualities. Talent alone is not enough. You have to work hard; you have to fight for the shirt. I will keep private the discussions Stewart and I have had but he is under no illusion that he has to fight.”