Premier League • England

Liverpool star with ‘risky’ style of play hands Klopp firm message over role

Jonny Whitfield
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joel Matip, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah in Liverpool training, September 2021

Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has insisted that he needs a consistent run of games to bring out his best performances.

The 28-year-old has endured a mixed career at Anfield following his 2017 move from Arsenal. While he enjoyed a standout debut season in 2017/18, he has never reached that same peak since.

Indeed, a nasty knee injury ruled him out for most of the 2018/19 campaign. He enjoyed Liverpool’s Premier League-title winning season, but another knee injury halted his progress last term and he only played a bit-part role thereafter

This season, however, Oxlade-Chamberlain has enjoyed a more consistent run of match action.

After only playing 184 minutes in five out of the first 10 matches, the Englishman has played in all of the last seven, racking up 320 minutes.

That may be because of injuries to James Milner, Fabinho, Curtis Jones, Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita, but Oxlade-Chamberlain has insisted that such a run of minutes is crucial for his form.

“A player like me who sometimes does risky things like run with the ball and drive with the ball, rhythm helps that,” he told the Daily Mirror.

“Rhythm helps all players, but especially for me the way I play. With game time and more games, it all becomes a bit more natural and I don’t have to think about these things as much.

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“It’s getting better [for me], but obviously at the minute we have got a few injuries in midfield. Hopefully soon we will have everyone back and the competition starts.

“As long as I can be absolutely ready and be able to perform well when needed, I need to make sure I am doing that.

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“Games help and I felt better, but definitely can improve even more for sure.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain will indeed soon face another battle to keep his role. Fabinho and Thiago have recovered and played against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday. Milner is close to a return, while Jones’ eye injury he suffered in training was not serious.

Oxlade-Chamberlain backed for Liverpool exit

Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (right) celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game with team mate Roberto Firmino during the Premier League match against West Ham at London Stadium

Amid his struggles for game time, reports claimed that Arsenal are considering a January transfer swoop for the midfielder.

Oxlade-Chamberlain reportedly feels ready for a new challenge. According to ex-Arsenal and Liverpool man Michael Thomas, he would be a good signing for the Gunners.

The pundit said: “Oxlade-Chamberlain made the choice to go and join a great club with great players.

“He has had his ups and downs, just like at Arsenal. What he needs is to stay injury free and get games in the centre of the park.

“He brings a lot of power and pace in there – you combine that with tactical know-how and experience, then he could be a great asset. I am a fan.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain has made 115 appearances for Liverpool, scoring 14 goals and assisting 13.