It’s been a difficult season for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the Liverpool midfielder struggling to find consistent minutes, starting just twice in the Premier League and recording a total of 286 minutes played across all competitions in 2020-21.
On Wednesday, though, in a late cameo, there was at least a positive sign: a well-worked individual goal, his first of the season, one that gave the Reds a 3-0 advantage and sealed a victory that has them in the top four heading into the final weekend.
“I’ve felt pretty good for a while, but it’s not been so easy with opportunities,” the midfielder noted. “Sometimes that’s part of football. The main thing is to stay focused. That’s all I’ve been focusing on really, trying to make sure that I work as hard as I can.
“Keep training well, keep giving the manager decisions to make, as the other lads have in a similar position to me. That’s all we can do, keep our heads down and whenever we get the opportunity, like tonight, I went on there and did something positive.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain arrived at Liverpool in the summer of 2017 and impressed, quickly establishing himself as one of manager Jürgen Klopp’s favourite players and a regular starter. Then, he suffered a knee injury against Roma early in 2018.
Since then, it’s been a struggle for the now 27-year-old to stay fit, find form, and earn regular minutes. As a result, there have been rumours he could move on in search of playing time. For now, though, Oxlade-Chamberlain is only focused on the present.
“I’d have liked to have done that a few more times this season,” he added, “but you have these spells and I’ve been through difficult moments before in my career. So just being fit and healthy, that’s always a good thing and gives you a base to work off.
“I’ve tried to work as hard as I can, keep my head down and keep believing in what we’re all trying to do here which is qualify for that top four. Any time I get the opportunity to help, I’ve got to make sure I’m ready to do that.”