Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is looking forward to getting his career back on track at Liverpool after admitting to being “frustrated” by the misconception that people think he is always injured.
The 28-year-old, who recently became a father for the first time, is looking forward to an injury-free campaign. He featured 13 times in the Premier League, but made just two starts last term.
His season started slowly after missing the first three months of the campaign. He picked up a knee ligament injury during pre-season which impacted his start to 2020/21.
But with that behind him, he is keen to get some minutes under his belt after missing a year of action after a serious knee injury he sustained in the Champions League, semi-final first leg against Roma at in April 2018.
“I feel like it’s just a chance for me to kick on and put down a really good season of consistent performances and hopefully some good numbers as well in terms of goals, assists. But I guess that’s all to come,” he told liverpoolfc.com.
“It doesn’t feel like a new start because it’s all been part of the journey, the story.
“But I feel like this season’s important for me to go and do something really good – hopefully on an individual level and then obviously for the team.
“I don’t really think that I’ve had, like, loads of injuries. But the ones I’ve had are big and they’ve kept me out for long spells, which I think sometimes makes people think I’m always injured. That’s a bit of a frustrating one.
“But during those spells and the battle to come back and prove yourself and whatever, I’ve sort of had to remind myself that through all of that at this point in my career, I’m still lucky enough to be at an amazing football club like Liverpool and how lucky I am to have that opportunity to still be in this environment, competing at this level.
“I feel like this season’s important for me to go and do something really good – hopefully on an individual level and then obviously for the team.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain started the season’s opener at Norwich City but missed the following week’s win over Burnley to attend the birth of his first child.
Harvey Elliott, who has returned earlier from England duty, then came in against Burnley and impressed and so retained his place for the 1-1 draw with Chelsea, while Oxlade-Chamberlain remained unused on the bench.
And 18-year-old Elliott’s emergence is a reminder to the former Arsenal man that he is now one of the senior professionals at Kirkby.
“I still see myself the same age as Harvey, to be fair!” said Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“So it is a bit strange when you dip into the senior player pool – it comes around quick!
Klopp’s midfield plan
“It’s also important as well. Once you’ve been around the block and you’ve done a lot, that experience is important and it helps you going into games, into situations, playing with other players – how to communicate with each other and get the best out of each other and seeing them in general situations day to day.
“Experience always helps in that respect, so I don’t mind it. But it’s strange to think of me as one of the older ones now in the team.”
Boss Jurgen Klopp earlier in the summer indicated that Oxlade-Chamberlain would be a key man for the Reds this season.
Klopp said: “During the season, a lot of things happened. The one thing we tried to get, and when we got it we tried to keep it, was balance and rhythm, stability. That means that you don’t change these positions too often. That’s it, pretty much.
“With always having a different defence, the midfield needed to be different to other times, when we were much more settled, much more stable. That’s the reason why some players don’t have enough minutes.
“That will hopefully change completely next season. Because if you have that stability in the last line, then you can be more flexible in the formation, further up the pitch.”