Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain faces some awkward competition and he looks to secure his first-team place at Liverpool. The England international has a tough job on.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain doesn’t have a certain future at Liverpool. Injuries have dramatically limited his games and there’s no long an obvious regular place.
Midfield is packed, with Thiago joining this season and Curtis Jones breaking through. While Oxlade-Chamberlain has simply never looked at home in the front-line.
Some space at the club did just free up, however. Takumi Minamino left to join one of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s old clubs – Southampton.
Now, he’ll be back at the end of the season as it’s only a loan deal. But it does remove some competition for places this season.
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But in another way, it creates awkward competition for Oxlade-Chamberlain going forward.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has had a much brighter Liverpool career than Minamino – no one would argue that. He’s also, in our mind, the preferred option to stay.
But as we say, he doesn’t have an obvious place right now. And Minamino may actually have a better chance of forcing one.
While Oxlade-Chamberlain is the one still at the club, he’s also far less likely to get regular games as a result. Minamino, on the other hand, could force his way into the starting XI at Southampton.
If he does that and shines in the Premier League, it’ll be difficult for Oxlade-Chamberlain to compete with. He simply won’t be able to match the number of appearances.
We see a squad revamp coming at the end of the season, too, as Liverpool try to freshen things up with a younger squad. That will see players on the chopping block.
Right now, you’d pick Minamino to leave over Oxlade-Chamberlain and if neither perform beyond expectations, it’ll stay that way until the end of the season.
But Minamino has a chance to change that and Oxlade-Chamberlain may not get his own to stop it.
It creates a very strange season for the £34m man – and one that forces him to take advantage of every minute he gets.