While Liverpool Football Club and its supporters were gearing up for another Famous European Night at Anfield, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rhian Brewster were playing a behind closed doors friendly against League Two side Bury.
Liverpool clearly did not want much media attention around the friendly, scheduling it while everyone was focused on the spectacle surrounding the Champions League. The Echo’s James Pearce didn’t even get around to reporting about it until late afternoon yesterday.
This is Ox’s first quasi-competitive playing time since coming off after only 40 minutes for the U23s with a hamstring concern (which was perhaps more than just a concern) on March 8th. Brewster, on the other hand, played another behind closed doors friendly—and scored twice—two weeks ago.
The fact that the club has been so quiet about his injury, as well as the “convenient” timing of this friendly seems to indicate that Oxlade-Chamberlain probably won’t see meaningful minutes (if any at all) this season.
Pearce’s reporting did not indicate who else participated in the friendly, nor if there were any meaningful contributions by the long-term rehabilitation partners. Hopefully neither player had yet another setback.
As the number of games continue to shrink, and neither player appears closer to the first team, it seems more and more likely that both will be targeting a return next season, after a full preseason training. In the meantime, we can only continue reading the tea leaves from the little information that is made public by the club.