It hasn’t been the start to life at Liverpool that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would have been hoping for. He’s had seven appearances so far but only one start, in a 2-0 EFL Cup loss to Leicester City. In the other six games he’s come off the bench, averaging 14 minutes per appearance.
He’s expected to get a chance to take a starting, starring turn tonight against Maribor, though, with Jürgen Klopp looking to talk up the England international’s qualities at his pre-match press conference, saying he’s a player who hasn’t yet shown fans what he’s truly capable of.
“Alex was a big signing for us but a player like him needs the circumstances to perform so he needed time,” said the Liverpool manager. “Since he came in he has been twice with the national team, there have been a lot of games with no training, so his start has been interrupted.
“It has been kind of okay but not what we know he is able to do. But then, on Saturday, he came on and used his speed really well. He was really spot on. It was a very nice sign, I loved to see it, so I was really happy with his performance [against Manchester United].”
Part of the reason why he hasn’t played as much as he might have expected for Liverpool is that, stylistically, his new club take a differing approach to his old one, Arsenal, and with Liverpool’s depth there isn’t a need to throw him into the mix before he’s fully up to speed.
Klopp also plans on eventually playing Oxlade-Chamberlain as much in the midfield as on the wing, and for that role, the switch from The Emirates—where played either on the wing or at wingback—to Anfield was an even more significant move for the 24-year-old.
Time in the middle, though, will come, just like playing time and chances for him to earn a more regular role at his new club—a club he made the switch to in large part because he wanted more playing time and in particular more playing time in midfield.
“It can never be without training as an eight first,” Klopp noted. “It wouldn't be good for him, it wouldn't be good for us, so for now it makes more sense to pick him in the more offensive positions but it is not a fixed thing for the next five years.”