It’s no secret that Alexander Oxlade-Chamberlain is a favorite of this humble sports blogger. I think I’ve spilt a lot of digital ink marking the various ways in which I am enamored with his plucky spirit, smitten by his mix of skill and industry, and completely beholden by that firecracker smile. Ox is, quite possibly, the closest any other Liverpool player has come to eclipsing my affections for one Daniel Andre Sturridge.
This season, then, has proven to be a bit difficult as fellow Ox-Cart Riders (this is what I’m calling his fan club) have sometimes haltingly, sometimes wistfully, but always hopefully wondered if Alex would mark a return to the team during this campaign. With each new update and each new benchmark, we all allowed ourselves to live, just a little, in the possibility that we might see him take the field for the Reds in the midst of a title race.
Today, we mark one large step which should all but confirm that we will see Alex don the red shirt in one of the most meaningful moments in recent team history. This afternoon, Ox played 40 minutes in a U23 match against Derby County. The short video found at the official site shows Ox with a bit of a rusty touch but, otherwise, looking rather positive. His passing range is on display at times and he looked to make some incisive forward moves.
It’s all guarded optimism of course with major caveats that this was a match against U23s with Ox sometimes seeming to play a bit deeper than he usually does when part of the First Team. Still, it is a significant hurdle to clear and no one would fault Reds fans from getting excited about seeing him don a red shirt with the Liverbird on the front. All positives now and the hope of Ox running out for Liverpool in the midst of the run-in for the title remains alive.