Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has yet to feature for Liverpool this season as he works his way back to fitness. However, as Klopp says he is getting closer to a return, Scott Groom (@ScottCGroom) says that his return can’t come soon enough.
He seems, once again, to have become a forgotten man due to injury.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still on the treatment table after suffering a knee injury in pre-season.
Although Klopp said he is making good progress, the England international still seems some way off making a comeback.
With the busy winter period now upon, it was a timely slither of good news as far as injuries are concerned.
Good news and bad newsEmbed from Getty Images
Fabinho and Thiago are due back after the international break to add to that.
However, long-term injuries to van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold also picking up a calf problem against City detract from that.
Klopp has had the luxury of resting a few of the key front men as Jota and Shaqiri have impressed of late.
However more cover here, as well as in midfield, wouldn’t go amiss as the fixtures mount up.
So perhaps now more than ever would be a good time to see the versatile Ox make strides towards a return.
Oxlade-Chamberlain provides more cover in attack
While I don’t think it’s his best position, having Ox available to cover in the front three is good news.Embed from Getty Images
Mané and Salah have been afforded only a few rests so far this season.
Although the two are so influential in this team, it’s unfair to expect them to play all the time this season.
Shaqiri and Jota can provide direct cover, while Minamino also provides another option in attack.
However, having Ox with his experience available to plug a gap if needed allows for further rotation.
We’ve already seen the intensity of this season impact players across the top flight.
Many clubs have players out with muscle and soft tissue injuries which could be down to the brutal schedule.
Imagine if Liverpool suffered such a blow to Mané or Salah.
A serious hamstring injury for example would be a hammer blow to the Reds and their hopes for silverware.
Reprising his influential midfield role
The same could be said for losing a midfield lynchpin, like we recently have with Fabinho.
With Thiago and Keita also out at the same time, our midfield options suddenly looked a little scarce.Embed from Getty Images
While Henderson, Wijnaldum and Milner could provide stability, there was little in the way of attacking threat.
Jota and Shaqiri can play there, and Jones too but he’s still so young.
Having someone capable of performances as Ox was in the 2017/18 season would be a huge boost.
He’s robust in the tackle, uses the ball well, works hard and always looks capable of a goal.
Even with everyone fit and available, having Oxlade-Chamberlain in the ranks would be a serious boost to any squad.
Could Oxlade-Chamberlain have an added bonus at the back?
But his return has further reaching implications stretching as far as the worrying centr back situation.Embed from Getty Images
Fabinho suffered his hamstring strain while deputising for the injured Matip at the back.
This left Klopp light both at the back and in midfield.
With Ox back in the squad, even if Fabinho has to fill in in defence again, there are still bountiful options in midfield.
If the centre backs are all fit, it bolsters our midfield and attacking options having him available.
It’s a win-win situation.
He may still be some weeks away from a return, but he is edging closer and this is great news.
Ox’s return will be a huge boost when it comes, and could come at a very good time.