Eight months ago, during Liverpool’s 5-2 Champions League semi-final victory over AS Roma, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left the pitch on a stretcher. Ligaments in his knee were destroyed in what appeared to be a routine challenge on Roma’s Aleksandar Kolarov.
The Ox was becoming a major player in Jürgen Klopp’s team at the time of his injury and the lengthy spell in rehab was and is a huge blow for Liverpool.
But there’s good news. All along the way Oxlade-Chamberlain’s recovery has been positive. He hasn’t suffered any setbacks and the player’s reintroduction into the first team picture has always looked to be coming sooner than expected.
Today, the Ox stepped out onto the training pitch at Melwood and did a little bit of running. Klopp was clearly happy with what he saw and was full of hope that Oxlade-Chamberlain would return to full training within a couple of months.
“Best news,” said Klopp.
“He’s started going onto the pitch. You know, sometimes when players are coming back from an injury and start running then you see, it’s not really limping but it’s not the picture you have in your mind.
“With Ox, from the first step, it looked like Ox and it was really nice.
“Then we had to wait for the reaction but there was no reaction which is even nicer.
“No pressure but it looks like maybe in February he could be back in normal training. I’m not sure, maybe late February or March.
“So, that gives us hope that he will be back this season. We are usually not that excited about something like this because a lot of things can happen after being out for a long time.
“But it looked so positive and it’s nice to have him around with a smile on his face again.
“He’s obviously happy and we are very happy about the improvement.”
The ex-Arsenal man worried some Liverpool supporters when Klopp brought him in, but the Ox assimilated quickly into the manager’s plans and was key to Liverpool’s success last season both domestically and in Europe.
The return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would truly be like a new signing for Liverpool if the player is fit to play a role at the tail end of this season.