Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says that he feels ready to play a similar role to Roberto Firmino, if his manager requires him to.
The 27-year-old has struggled for consistency in his time at Anfield since signing from Arsenal. His worth to Liverpool when in top form has not been in question, but injuries have held him back. His serious knee issue from 2018 is the obvious candidate, but he also missed three months of last season.
After returning last season, Oxlade-Chamberlain struggled for minutes. But manager Jurgen Klopp admitted the cruel injury crisis forced him to focus on stability in his midfield.
As a result, Oxlade-Chamberlain could get a bigger role again next term and he ended the 2020/21 campaign in style with a goal against Burnley.
“I was going to say, I think that’s more of a Bobby Firmino-esque goal! Bobby, be careful!” Oxlade-Chamberlain said of his goal in training.
“Obviously it was nice at the end of the season to get that one. When it’s been a while it’s nice to just have that as a bit of a confidence booster and a reminder.
“But yeah, that sort of role that Bobby plays, the false nine, I think he’s the best in the business at it for us and in attacking situations he makes it so much easier for Mo [Salah] and Sadio [Mane] or Diogo [Jota], just dropping deep and leaving spaces in behind for them and then attracting people, and then defensively as well.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain made some crucial attacking contributions for Liverpool in the 2017/18 campaign.
Indeed, long-range strikes were his penchant, scoring two against Manchester City in the Premier League and Champions League.
As such, the midfielder has a fire in his belly to get forward and said he would like to contribute more.
Oxlade-Chamberlain targets Liverpool role
“But the way that role is played, it’s almost similar to a No.10, attacking-midfield role because you drop quite deep so in that sense I find it quite natural,” he added.
“I feel like I can run in behind from there as well and get in and around the box, and you get opportunities to shoot and score.
“So I don’t mind doing that role – but you know, I’ve still got my head more fixed on the midfield situation. But if I need to fill in and do that, then I’m confident that I can do that as well.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s first task will be to get through pre-season without an injury. He did not manage that last season and ended up staying on the sidelines until December.
Liverpool could yet add another midfielder to their ranks. Renato Sanches and Nicolo Barella are reported transfer targets to replace Georginio Wijnaldum.
Should that not happen, though, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita could get a more pertinent role next term.