Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain admits he is not yet of the standards required to claim a regular first-team shirt in Jurgen Klopp’s first team.
The 26-year-old, making only his sixth start of the season after missing all-but 20 minutes of the previous campaign with a serious knee injury, scored his third goal in a week in the crazy 5-5 draw in the Caracao Cup against Arsenal on Wednesday, which the Reds went on to win 5-4 on penalties.
However, Oxlade-Chamberlain is clearly his own biggest critic and accepts he was far from his best and knows he will have to improve if he is to force his way into Klopp’s midfield more regularly.
“Quality-wise, I am not too happy with my performance to be honest,” said Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“I wasn’t great on the ball and not near my own personal level of where I want to be. I put in a good shift and run a lot.
“I watch the boys of a weekend and I know what it is about here. You have got to be at a really high physical level to go and put in a performance like that.
“Fab (Fabinho) did really well at the weekend so I need to keep pushing myself and maybe I will get a chance.”
In Oxlade-Chamberlain’s favour is his goalscoring threat from deeper positions with his three goals in 12 appearances already making him Liverpool’s joint leading scorer from midfield alongside James Milner (two of which have been penalties); the latter of which has spoken about the chances of him ever returning to play for Leeds United.
A Liverpool side showing 11 changes from Sunday’s win over Tottenham, and including four teenagers, twice came back from two goals down to equalise for the final time in the fourth minute of added time.
It is a trait the first-choice XI have developed but which has been transferred throughout the squad and to the club’s academy.
“It’s mentality and the fans and atmosphere here help massively,” Oxlade-Chamberlain, who explained why he opted for a muted celebration against Arsenal, continued. “It went to 4-2 and at that point the crowd can really drop but I don’t remember them dropping.
“They kept us going at 4-3, when it went 5-4 again after making it 4-4, they were still right there until the end, that helps us massively.
“We always know we have a big chance of winning at Anfield, history speaks for itself and we just kept going.
“I am really proud of how the boys turned out and especially the young lads on their first starts and debuts.”