Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says that he must be grateful for his fitness, despite his struggles for game time.
The Englishman has endured a tough season for the Reds, which started with a knee injury in August. Manager Jurgen Klopp insisted early on that it was only a small issue, but he did not return until December. Despite making an instant impact with an assist against Crystal Palace, though, he has still struggled.
Klopp has insisted that the lack of stability elsewhere in the team has proved the overriding cause of the lack of game time for Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita.
Liverpool have had to contend with a host of injuries, especially in defence. That has led Fabinho to play at centre-back, causing a protective reshuffle in midfield.
Indeed, creative-minded Oxlade-Chamberlain has missed out alongside Keita and Shaqiri as a result.
Speaking to LFCTV, the 27-year-old opened up on his struggles. He said: “I’ve felt pretty good for a while now, but for whatever reason it’s not been so easy with opportunities.
“Sometimes that’s part of football, it’s not what you like. I’ve been kicking myself, trying to push and ask questions, but sometimes it doesn’t always go your way.
“The main thing is I stay focused. I’m absolutely delighted to be a part of this team and play for this football club, and that’s what I want to do.
“That’s all I’ve been focusing on really, trying to make sure that I work as hard as I can for the boys. Keep training well, keep giving the manager decisions to make, as the other lads have in a similar position to me at the minute.
“That’s all we can do, keep our heads down and whenever we get the opportunity, like tonight, I went on there and did something positive.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain has never enjoyed a long run in the Liverpool team since signing from Arsenal in 2017.
Further injury problems – including a serious knee problem – have hampered his progress. As such, he added that his overriding feeling is that he is fit and ready to challenge for minutes.
Oxlade-Chamberlain happy at fitness
“I’d have liked to have done that a few more times coming on this season, but you have these spells in football sometimes and the main thing is I’ve been through difficult moments in my career,” he added.
“Just being fit and healthy for a start, that’s always a good thing and gives you a base to work off.
“I’ve tried to work as hard as I can, keep my head down and keep believing in what we’re all trying to do here which is qualify for that top four.
“Any time I get the opportunity to help, I’ve got to make sure I’m ready to do that.”
Liverpool finish their campaign looking to make the top four with victory over Palace on Sunday.