After arriving in a £35M deal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain took a few months to settle at his new club and showed promise late in the autumn of 2017. Then, Philippe Coutinho forced his way out in January, heading to Barcelona in a controversial move.
At the time, fans wondered how Liverpool would cope without their midfield star. It turned out they wouldn’t have to wonder for long. Oxlade-Chamberlain quickly seized his chance, stepped up, and locked down a place in the starting eleven.
Now, Liverpool look even better than they did in the autumn, matching Manchester City’s form since Coutinho’s departure and into the semi-finals of the Champions League. And a lot of that is thanks to the stellar play of their new midfield star.
“I love it,” was Oxlade-Chamberlain short and sweet response when asked how things have gone for him and the club in the second half of the 2017-18 season. “It’s not hard to go and enjoy it when you go out there and you hear the fans singing.
“It’s not hard to enjoy your football here, really. It helps when your form’s going well and when the results are going for us like they are at the moment. We’re in a good spell at the moment, but I [still] need to keep performing at this level and improve.”
From a talented and promising but frustratingly inconsistent side in the autumn—not entirely dissimilar to how Oxlade-Chamberlain himself was often talked about back in his Arsenal days—Liverpool have grown into a dynamic, balanced force.
That too sounds a lot like how fans are starting to describe the player now, with him having proven he was right to move from Arsenal—to believe in his ability to make the switch to a more central role and head to a club he believed would give him a chance at it.
Now, he’s playing some of the best football of his career, and he’s doing it in midfield as a key contributor for one of the best sides in Europe and a group that looks to be laying the foundations for what could be a dominant side in the future.
“The buzz around the city at the moment is amazing,” he added, reflecting on the success of recent weeks and momentum this side is building. “As a player, you can’t thank people enough for that, they are the moments you dream of as a young lad.
“To play for a club like Liverpool that has support like this and to see the appreciation from the fans, it just makes me want to go on the pitch and every time we can keep making them happy.”