Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was fantastic despite Liverpool’s aggregate defeat to Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League. He hit a level not seen for two years.
Liverpool are out of the Champions League after a disappointing night at Anfield. Not that it was without bright points – the brightest being Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The 26-year-old put in his best performance in two years on Wednesday. And not only because he created Liverpool’s first goal, although it was the highlight.
Gini Wijnaldum’s header was brilliant but the goal happened thanks to work from Oxlade-Chamberlain. His burst of pace to the right of the box was fantastic, his cross even better.
But it was simply the moment that worked out. He was doing similar for the entire time he was on the pitch, flying past players and creating as much havoc as possible.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was happy to test Jan Oblak from distance. He was happy to get beyond the forwards, swapping positions with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. He was even happy with dropping very deep to get on the ball.
This was the Englishman at his best. An all-action, direct player who plays as much as a forward as a midfielder. He looked like the most threatening player on the pitch.
We haven’t really seen this in two years, not since his serious injury against AS Roma in 2018. That injury didn’t just end his 17/18 season but also crippled his 18/19 season, too.
The injury had come on the back of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s best form for Liverpool – possibly of his career. The 3-0 win over Manchester City, of instance, saw him tear the champions-elect apart. He was fantastic, even without the screamer from distance.
But that injury has limited him since and we haven’t seen his best for two years. That changed against Atletico, however, as this was firmly Oxlade-Chamberlain back to his best.
Fingers crossed, he’ll keep it going long-term.