There was a lot to love in Liverpool FC’s final pre-season game against Osasuna. Bobby Firmino was his electric self, Takumi Minamino got crafty, Kostas looked ready to step up... and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was everywhere. Speaking after the game to the club’s official media, Jürgen Klopp singled out the Ox for praise:
Bobby between the lines was exceptional but what Kaide and Taki offered from a speed perspective was absolutely exceptional as well. Played really good in midfield, Ox was on fire obviously, Fab controlled together with the boys out there.
The counter-pressing situations with especially now Bobby and Oxlade was just really good and how it should be. The last line worked good together, defended well. And the goals we scored were outstanding.
Ox started off last season injured and then didn’t feature until late in the campaign. Klopp touched on how important a full preseason can be for Ox (and other players):
Look, I know Ox for so long now it was not necessary to talk. It was clear what the thing is – he needed a full pre-season. [The same] for plenty of players. For Taki it was the first pre-season with us properly; it was the first pre-season for a long time with Ox. It helps for all of them who were part of all the sessions, that helps and you can then get the games. I think Ox played in six pre-season games, was part of it, Taki probably as well. You can see then how much it means. The same for yesterday when you think about Naby, it’s the same for him – that it’s very important. That’s what you need and now we have a proper situation and with how it looked tonight, come on, make the line-up for Norwich. Who do you want to leave out after these two games? That’s how it should be, the boys had to put pressure on themselves with the performances they put on the pitch and that’s what you wish for in an ideal world. Hopefully they can all stay fit and they can put for the whole season pressure on each other in a very positive way – who wants to play has to play like we did today or in yesterday in moments. That’s the football we want to play and that’s the football that made us successful and could potentially make us successful again. We’ll see.
Ox certainly looks ready to go after this preseason. One of the better long-range threats in the team, I’m certainly hoping he hits the ground running and is back to his marauding best this year.