Dave Davis highlights Liverpool’s hectic fixture list as reason for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s stock to rise in the next few months.
There have been numerous labels placed on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain since his big-money arrival at Anfield. The least rational of Liverpool’s fanbase even used the word ‘cursed’ after a poor run of results. The 24-year-old had become one of the poster boys for the club’s summer transfer failings, but recent opinion seems to be changing and the next few months will be critical in ‘The Ox’s’ career.
The need to improve our defence was an obvious target for all involved at Melwood this summer and the pain of the Virgil van Dijk saga still lingers. When no alternative was approached and it became clear that a last minute move wouldn’t materialise, fan frustrations were inevitable.
Unfortunately for the England international, his deadline day move meant he became the focus for those who chose to vent or comment.
Those who labelled the player a pointless signing may now be reassessing their viewpoint. Oxlade-Chamberlain’s impressive cameo against Huddersfield wasn’t his only performance of note so far. A goal against Maribor and a decent showing during the Spurs defeat have resulted in increased calls for him to be given more minutes.
The former Arsenal man’s pace, directness and willingness to take on players gets fans excited and will frighten opposition defenders.
Jürgen Klopp will be fully aware of how important the player could be as the campaign begins to unfold. Chamberlain could play on either the left or right of the front three, as well as either side of the midfield trio too. He hasn’t been given minutes in his preferred position, although the manager has made it clear he sees him in a more attacking role this season.
Injuries to Sadio Mané and the need to utilise and protect Mo Salah effectively are key in Klopp’s thinking. As it stands the club has six games to play in November and eight in December.
The schedule doesn’t relent in 2018 and with the need to rotate and keep players fresh, a strong squad will be more important than ever. It may have been a rocky start for the Ox, but opinion is definitely changing.