Upon his arrival at the Anfield helm back in October 2015, Jurgen Klopp delivered an uplifting message to Liverpool fans on his first day as new Reds boss: “We have to change from doubters to believers. Now.”
One player who has become the embodiment of this particular ethos is none other than Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The England international has enjoyed one of the harder journeys during a period that has brought such unprecedented success to the club.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, 26, saw his world turned upside down after he sustained multiple ligament damage that kept the former Arsenal man out of action for just over a year. He would miss the 2018 Champions League final entirely whilst was an unused substitute the following year in Madrid.
At times, Oxlade-Chamberlain has cut a peripheral figure in a Liverpool squad that is littered with so many world-class players with the Englishman burdened by injury and an unwavering determination to succeed.
However, time and time again he continued to prove the doubters wrong. Oxlade-Chamberlain has since become an integral part to the Reds’ record-breaking title charge. He has clocked up 28 appearances in all competitions this season and is the club’s highest-scoring midfielder with seven goals – only Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah have more goals for the Premier League champions-elect this season.
Oxlade-Chamberlain – who joined the club for a 40m [BBC Sport] fee from Arsenal in 2018 – has also showcased his diversity for the team this season. He has featured and starred numerously in Liverpool’s midfield triumvirate and has even covered for Klopp on the wing in the absence of Sadio Mane.
He is perhaps the Reds’ most direct midfielder in the team. The former Southampton star’s ability to beat players with his blistering pace is a weapon Klopp has looked exploit on numerous occasions this season.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is also a player who, unlike many in the squad predominantly enjoy taking risks and shooting from outside the area; with seven goals in 17 starts this season for Oxlade-Chamberlain; four of them have occurred from outside the box.
Despite his incredible return to form, surprisingly Oxlade-Chamberlain is someone whose position in the team always appears to be under threat. Having started in all of Liverpool’s previous five Premier League matches, it is the midfielders best run of games in the league since April 2018.
In a team glistening with world-beaters, it is only natural for some players to fall out of the spotlight. Oxlade-Chamberlain has had to be patient following such gruelling setbacks, however, he is finally rediscovering his potent best and this will only boast well for Liverpool going forward.