Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stepped in to the Liverpool starting XI against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday. The 28-year-old really caught the eye.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has had a difficult season. He’s watched both Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones move ahead of him in the pecking order – both far younger players.
That’s a tough place to come back from. Those two will only improve, after all, increasing their claim to places.
But two weeks ago, Liverpool struggled to get going in the second half against Atletico Madrid. Oxlade-Chamberlain came on as a substitute, though, and put in a really impressive cameo.
That earned him some more minutes in subsequent games but it wasn’t until last night that he made a first-XI. The midfielder started at Anfield against Atletico and we got to see what he can do.
Oxlade-Chamberlain puts in fine display vs Atletico
Oxlade-Chamberlain lined up on the left of a midfield three with Fabinho sitting behind and Jordan Henderson on the right. It worked well.
Henderson was heavily involved on his flank and while Oxlade-Chamberlain didn’t see too much of the ball, he impressed. The £35m man always looked to drive forward and make things happen.
In fact, Oxlade-Chamberlain completed five dribbles in the game from midfield. Only Mohamed Salah completed more (6) but the Englishman did it with a 100% success rate.
Two of those runs ended with a shot at goal, though Oxlade-Chamberlain pulled both wide. Still, it was an example of the pace and drive he brings from midfield.
Defensively, he played very, very well. Three tackles won (out of three attempts) as well as two interceptions. No one else matched that kind of efficiency.
And in a game Liverpool hoped to control against Atletico, Oxlade-Chamberlain delivered composure. He completed 88% of his passes and wasn’t tackled once. You can’t really ask for much more.
This was an impressive display, then, and we’d like to see Oxlade-Chamberlain get more chances. He might drop out for Thiago against West Ham United at the weekend but there will be few complaints if he retains his place.
Oxlade-Chamberlain looked dynamic with his dribbling, kept things controlled and played his part defensively. If he increased his standing with a cameo in Spain, he did even more with this display.