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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finally establishes himself again at Liverpool

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is enjoying a fine period of form for Liverpool. It feels as though he’s finally established himself at the club once again.

Injuries have really hit Liverpool lately. In fact, heading into the Arsenal game, the Reds could only count on two midfielders being fit.

Fortunately, Fabinho proved to be completely fine, as expected. But it meant another start for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita, James Milner, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott were all deemed unfit to start.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has now started Liverpool’s last five games. It’s his longest run of appearances for a very long time – years, in fact.

He was once a mainstay of the XI, of course. Oxlade-Chamberlain was absolutely brilliant in Liverpool’s run to the Champions League final in 2018, only for a terrible injury to ruin things. He wouldn’t play again for nearly a year.

By the time he was back, Keita had joined the club and taken his spot. Further injuries last year saw Jones move ahead of him and Elliott joined that list in this campaign.

That’s a terrible spot for a 28-year-old – players far younger than you sitting higher in the pecking order. They’re only going to improve, after all, while Oxlade-Chamberlain likely won’t.

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The result is that he often hasn’t felt like a genuine first-team option. He’s simply been a squad player – someone you call on for the odd game when you need numbers.

Injuries, though, gave Oxlade-Chamberlain an opportunity over the last little while. He’s played consistent football and, in our opinion, finally established himself again.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shines

Oxlade-Chamberlain started against Arsenal and while he was quiet, he played his role well. He pressed hard, tried to run with the ball often and was a nice complement to Thiago, who sat deep and recycled possession.

In isolation, this wasn’t too much to shout about. Combine it with recent weeks, though, and it’s quite clear what Oxlade-Chamberlain can bring.

He was brilliant against Atletico Madrid, for instance – and Jurgen Klopp thought so. The Englishman again pressed hard and consistently drove forward with the ball.

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And that’s what Liverpool can count on. Oxlade-Chamberlain brings a certain power to the midfield that no one else can. He’s physical and direct, willing to really drive past players.

In certain midfield setups and against opponents looking to battle, he’s a very valuable player to have. We haven’t really been able to say that over the last few years but he’s really showing his impact this season.

Right now, having Oxlade-Chamberlain in the XI feels like a strong Liverpool side again. Hopefully, he only kicks on further from here because he continues to look more and more impressive.

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