Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will need a big performance against West Ham United on Wednesday night if he is to maintain his spot in the starting XI for the Premier League leaders.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, 26, has started three consecutive league matches for Jurgen Klopp’s champions-elect for the first time since 2018. However, the return to fitness from Fabinho has threatened the England international’s imminent starting prospects.
Fabinho made his first appearance for the European champions since sustaining ligament damage during Liverpool’s 1-1 stalemate with Napoli back in November. The Brazilian featured for the first time in over two months against Shrewsbury Town at the weekend but the former Monaco man looked worryingly rusty, to say the least.
This will likely mean that Oxlade-Chamberlain will surely make it four back-to-back starts in the league when the Reds travel to the London Stadium tonight. The Hammers are the only team this season Liverpool are yet to beat domestically.
A win for Klopp’s league leaders will see their lead at the Premier League summit extended to 19-points and will also see the Reds break a 125-year record if they are to earn their 23rd victory of the season.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is someone who will have to impress if his long-term future in the starting XI is to remain. The former Arsenal midfielder – who is currently on £120,000-a-week [Spotrac] – is yet to play a full 90 minutes in the league for nearly two years.
His determination to succeed was blatantly evident during the Reds’ 1-0 victory against Tottenham Hotspur earlier this month. Despite, an assured and credible performance against his former rivals, Oxlade-Chamberlain was left bemused and overly distressed with his performance after being subbed and was spotted lashing out at out the substitutes’ seat in the Liverpool dugout.
The £40m signing [The Guardian] from the Gunners is currently embarking on his third season at the club – despite missing practically the entirety of the 2018/19 campaign due to injury. Oxlade-Chamberlain has 5 goals in 26 appearances this season – but only one in the league.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has started brightly in his previous three matches but has quickly faded on the peripheral in the latter stages forcing Klopp to intervene and add a fresh solution from the substitutes bench in each of his last three starts.
The former Southampton star will be fully aware that both Fabinho and Naby Keita – who also has returned from injury – will be knocking on the manager’s door in anticipation of returning to the fold.
Although Oxlade-Chamberlain is seemingly the man to complete the midfield trident against West Ham tonight, the Englishman will need a performance that will reassure his manager that he has the quality to springboard Liverpool forward long after the Premier League’s inaugural winter break which will commence on February 2.