Jurgen Klopp proved that he still has Liverpool midfielder, injured by injury, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Jurgen Klopp proved he still counts on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain by putting him in the engine room for the clash against Atlético … the injured Liverpool midfielder needs to make up for lost time after lasting 90 minutes only twice in his last 75 appearances
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played a pivotal role in Liverpool he got into Atlético
- The midfielder had a point to prove amid doubts about his long-term future at Anfield
- It wasn’t perfect as there was a cheer before a hug from Jurgen Klopp.
‘This situation is not always easy for all the boys, not only for Ox… Do I count on him for the next season? Yes.’ Jurgen Klopp, May 7; 2021.
The Liverpool manager looked down the barrel of a television camera while saying those words; He spoke clearly and his message was emphatic. At a time when doubts were being raised about Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s future in Merseyside, the man whose opinion is most important did not share them.
Six months after that statement, however, and uncertainty continues over what role this midfielder will play at Anfield in the long run, his performance against Brighton last Saturday reigniting the debate. It was not, to put it bluntly, a good day and Klopp did not try to argue otherwise.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played a pivotal role when Liverpool faced Atlético de Madrid
“He scored the second goal with a good cross and that was it,” was Klopp’s resounding verdict. “He can play better football.”
Other coaches, perhaps, would have had that disappointing cameo on their mind when choosing their next team, but Klopp is not one to allow his thoughts to be biased and if Oxlade-Chamberlain needed a push, it came an hour before kickoff. Here was a weird start.
And rare is the right word for 2021. There were two in January, against Southampton and Burnley. The next one didn’t come until August, at Carrow Road on opening day, while the only other starts were in the EFL Cup against Norwich and Preston.
Dig a little deeper into Oxlade-Chamberlain’s playing time, though, and something even more remarkable emerges: He’s only got 90 minutes twice, in his last 76 appearances with the club and country, dating back to April 2018.
Oxlade-Chamberlain had something to prove amid doubts about his long-term future at Anfield
Yes, you read it correctly. Norwich in the EFL Cup on September 21 and before Monterrey, in the semi-final of the Club World Cup, in Doha on December 18, 2019. It is not surprising, then, that there is so much at stake in this clash with Atlético de Madrid for the former Arsenal. man.
Few would dispute that he deserves a change of fortune. There was a point shortly after Philippe Coutinho was sold to Barcelona in January 2018 where he seemed ready to take up the mantle of the Brazilian, scoring vital goals against Manchester City against The Kop.
They love him in the locker room and the day it emerged that he had suffered a knee injury in the Champions League semi-final against Roma that effectively changed the course of his Liverpool career was one of the bleakest in the reign of Klopp’s Melwood.
But he’s not a man to feel sorry for himself or to go deep into his shell, so Saturday’s outing, when he replaced Naby Keita, who was paralyzed, was never going to be a prey on his mind. He is a confident young man and that was evident in his early days.
There was a joy and a hug from Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on Wednesday night.
A run down the left in the 16th minute had Klopp clapping his hands excitedly; an instinctive shot in the 23rd minute from a pass from Mo Salah was dragged just outside the goal, while a header in the 26th minute was crucial to defuse Ángel Correa.
It was perfect? No. There were complaints from different quarters when he gave up possession too easily and a glee from Klopp in the 67th minute when his loose pass allowed Atlético to launch an attack.
The best view of all, however, was when he got up shortly after to continue, as he appeared to have suffered another injury. He was able to continue and although his night ended prematurely soon after, he left the field to a standing ovation in recognition of his determined efforts.
He needs all this, the minutes in an important game and the appreciation of the public. You also need to move on from here. Klopp, as he said so forcefully, is counting on him.