It’s just a theory of mine but, after so many injuries and so much time on the sidelines, I wonder if Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fell out of love with football somewhat.
It’s 2018 and he’d just booked Liverpool into the Champions League semi-finals with two incredible performances against Manchester City. He was on top of the world.
Football can change quickly, however, as he was stretchered off of the Anfield pitch just 18 minutes into the game. It would matter little in the grand scheme of the tie, as Jurgen Klopp’s tricky Reds beat AS Roma 6-4 on aggregate to make it to the final.
With an ACL rupture, Chamberlain would miss a game he deserved to play in and while Mohamed Salah’s shoulder injury ruined Liverpool’s chances of winning the competition alongside two blunders from Loris Karius, it’s inarguable that the Ox would have made a difference in that game.
Klopp was forced to start James Milner, Emre Can and Jordan Henderson in the middle of the park against Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro – a talent mismatch of epic proportions.
Now, it seems like Chamberlain is back to his best or at least close to it and it seems as though he has fallen in love with football again.
He’s been shown what it’s like to help the Reds in Europe again with a fine midfield display against Atletico Madrid following an impressive cameo against Preston North End in the Carabao Cup.
Admittedly, he was very poor against Brighton on the weekend but so was just about every player on the pitch.
After his energetic and commanding midfield display last night against Diego Simeone’s men, Jurgen Klopp will actually have a selection headache as Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho return to fitness.
He joined the club for £35m in 2017 and while things have not yet gone to plan, there’s still time.