Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was a complete pressing machine for Liverpool vs AC Milan on Tuesday evening. The Reds ran out 2-1 winners with a second-string side.
Liverpool went to San Siro last night and put on a show. This was a game against the team leading Serie A right now – and one the Reds didn’t actually need to win.
Jurgen Klopp put out a second-string XI, too, as he rotated heavily. It felt like everything was against Liverpool vs Milan, then. Away from home, against a far more motivated side, with a weakened team.
And yet, Liverpool walked away with a 2-1 win and a perfect 18 points from their six group games. It was a special performance, in truth, with several fringe players shining in Milan.
After the game, we picked out three players who shone brightly. One of those was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who continued his fine recent Liverpool form against Milan.
The 28-year-old was great with an all-around performance and played a huge part in the win. But his pressing, in particular, caught the eye. He was a machine against Milan.
Oxlade-Chamberlain shines for Liverpool vs Milan
Oxlade-Chamberlain pressed 17 times in this game – a decent number. Only three Reds pressed more often than that, with 12 of his presses coming in midfield.
None of that is particularly ‘standout’ but notable nonetheless. To the surprise of no one, Oxlade-Chamberlain will work hard and press regularly.
But using Statsbomb data from FBref, we can see just how well he pressed. They judge a ‘successful’ press as one where your team has the ball within six seconds of that press. You don’t necessarily have to win a tackle – just play your part in getting the ball back.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was successful with 10 of those 17 presses for a 58.8% success rate. It’s a number that’s far, far more impressive than it looks.
Essentially, Liverpool would probably get the ball back within six seconds if Oxlade-Chamberlain chose to press. This wasn’t a case of him simply picking the right moments, either – as we said, the Englishman pressed a lot in this game. He’s just very, very good at it.
This is something that Klopp and co. will love to see, then. In a second-string side, it’s easy for the pressing to fall apart. It certainly didn’t here, though. Oxlade-Chamberlain played a magnificent role in keeping the press strong.
And that will earn him far more minutes as the season continues.