Liverpool have a proper option in their team after 28-year-old took 'massive step'


Liverpool have a proper option in their team after 28-year-old took 'massive step'

The Liverpool team looks stronger after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain took a ‘massive step’. Jurgen Klopp certainly likes the 28-year-old.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is playing consistent football again. He’s benefitted from injuries to others in order to break into the team but he’s playing some excellent football.

We wrote last month that it felt like Oxlade-Chamberlain was a genuine option for Liverpool again. That hasn’t really been the case since his debut season, with injuries consistently tearing away his momentum.

But things are looking great right now and Jurgen Klopp believes Oxlade-Chamberlain is playing the best football of his Liverpool career.

“It’s pretty much the best Oxlade since he’s been here,” said Klopp. “I know he’s had more spectacular moment, scored wonderful goals against [Manchester] City and stuff like this, really good goals, Burnley.

“But it’s really a completely new quality, calming the game down, knowing when to sprint with the ball or shoot. But [it is] being involved in all the different things around the pitch.

“It’s just a massive step. I’m really happy with Oxlade at the moment and hopefully, it stays like this.”

How good is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in this Liverpool team?

Oxlade-Chamberlain’s stats this season make for interesting reading. Most of them are where they were back in 2018, which was the last time he truly thrived for Liverpool.

But there are real upgrades in specific stats that lend themselves to Klopp’s words. The little things that really benefit the entire Liverpool team.

Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

For instance, his pressing is better than ever. Oxlade-Chamberlain manages around 20 presses per 90, which was his average in 2018, too. But he’s successful with over a third of them now – his percentage in 2018 was 28, now it’s 33. That makes a real difference as it means an extra success every game for Liverpool.

The other thing you expect from Oxlade-Chamberlain is carrying the ball. He’s back to the same number of carries per 90 as 2018 – around 42 per 90. But importantly, he’s carrying the ball into the final third more than ever.

The midfielder does it around 4.5x per 90 in the Premier League – no one at Liverpool averages more. In fact, no one in the Premier League manages that many with at least 360 minutes to their name.

It’s easy to see why Klopp is excited, then. Oxlade-Chamberlain is playing smarter and better than ever, with Liverpool benefitting greatly. For the first time in years, he’s a serious first XI option.

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