Time to settle, to adjust to a new team and manager and way of playing. Some players don’t need it, others do, and Liverpool have seen examples of both this season with their two big summer signings. Mohamed Salah has, from the moment he arrived, looked a superstar. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain needed some time.
Now that he’s had it, though, the former Arsenal man is looking a key player—and playing better football than perhaps at any point in his Arsenal career. It took a few months, but increasingly it’s become clear just what it was that manager Jürgen Klopp saw in the 24-year-old attacking midfielder and winger.
“He is on a very good way,” Klopp told the club’s official website this week. “But he has so much potential it’s unbelievable what he still [doesn’t] show. It’s only just the beginning and I really like it, I really like it. He’s like a wonderful package, I can only say. Hopefully he stays fit, that’s the most important thing.”
With Jordan Henderson and Emre Can both struggling at times to dictate play in midfield—and with Can likely to sign a pre-contract with Juventus in January—while Gini Wijnaldum has struggled to rediscover his form of last season, midfield has at times been something of a weak point for this Liverpool edition.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, though, looks to have found a home as a shuttling player in midfield, and at least on current form deserves to be one of the first names on the team sheet—though Klopp’s determination to fully embrace squad rotation this season means even as the man in form he won’t always start.
“We trust the squad,” Klopp added. “That’s the first and maybe most important thing. [Rotation] cannot work all the time, but it should work pretty often. So far, it’s okay. We had a fantastic period, a little interrupted by two results and one performanc—I really liked the Everton performance, not too much West Brom.
“Now this was not too bad. But the next game is waiting, Arsenal away. That will be really hard, but it should be hard for both teams.”