Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has the chance to step up if injury keeps Naby Keita out.
Keita will have a fitness check before the UEFA Super Cup final on Wednesday, per the Echo. If he can’t play, then Oxlade-Chamberlain has an opportunity to put his stamp on the team.
That’s providing Jurgen Klopp picks him, of course. We think he will, in Keita’s absence. And if he does, then Chelsea’s struggles with the counter-attack would provide the perfect game for Oxlade-Chamberlain.
It’s an opportunity that he deserves, too. His form before the injury was fantastic and he played a vital part in getting Liverpool to the 2018 Champions League final. It may have started slowly but Oxlade-Chamberlain eventually made £35m look like a bargain.
But he’s yet to start a game since that first semi-final vs AS Roma. He did come on as a substitute against Manchester City last week but that wasn’t in his favoured position in the middle.
Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Fabinho have started both games so far and rest makes sense.
That, combined with Chelsea’s problems against Manchester United, creates wonderful conditions for Oxlade-Chamberlain. He’s the attacking, direct, pacy option in the middle of midfield – and he’s fresh.
We’ll see if injury keeps Keita out but if it does, surely Oxlade-Chamberlain is the man to step up.