Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain really will be ‘like a new signing’ for Liverpool this season after his return from injury.
That’s an overused phrase, admittedly, and one that rarely actually works. The player returning from injury is almost invariably not like a new signing adding something to the team and is instead just filling the big gap they themselves left in the side.
But Oxlade-Chamberlain is in a very different situation – he truly is like a new signing.
Oxlade-Chamberlain won’t be moving into a side that’s missing much of anything. Liverpool’s incredible season proved they have an elite squad and the 25-year-old will simply be something different.
Suddenly their successful squad will have more depth out wide and another dimension in the middle. Exactly what you’d expect from a new signing.
And despite heading into his third season at Liverpool after his £35m move from Arsenal, this will be Oxlade-Chamberlain’s first pre-season with Jurgen Klopp.
That makes a big difference. It makes a difference in fitness, it makes a difference in tactics, and it makes a difference in freshness.
We don’t know how he’ll recover from the injury so we can’t say for sure if this will be a ‘better’ Oxlade-Chamberlain because of all that. We do know that he’ll be more prepared, though.
New signings are typically more fun – that’s true. Treating an injured player as someone new is usually just a sign that a team isn’t actually bringing in anyone and can be a sign that you shouldn’t be excited.
But with Oxlade-Chamberlain, it genuinely is exciting. We’ve seen what he can do already but we know that there may be more to come.
With Liverpool’s proven squad, he’s a fantastic ‘addition’ for 19/20.