Jurgen Klopp has named some reasons for his underuse of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain since the Englishman’s arrival at Liverpool.
Since buying the 24-year-old from Arsenal, Oxlade-Chamberlain has made just one start – hardly befitting a player that starts for his country and cost £35m.
According to the boss, Oxlade-Chamberlain’s taken time to adapt to our training methods, which are very different from Arsene Wenger’s. What’s more, the timing of the international breaks has meant he hasn’t been able to build up any rhythm.
“Alex is a big signing for us, but a player like him needs the circumstances to perform so he needed time,” Klopp told the Echo.
“Since he came in he has been twice with the national team, there have been a lot of games with no training and so his start has been interrupted.
“It has been kind of okay but not what we know he is able to do. But then Saturday, bang!
“He came on, used his speed, was really spot on, it was a very nice sign. I loved to see it. I was happy with Alex’s performance.
“Obviously it is a different style to Arsenal and a different role to the wing-back role he played in his last games for Arsenal.
“Then he plays for England and they all come back from their national teams not confused, but with different plans. That’s not too simple.
“I would say there has been no consistency until now. We let him run so far, let him do what he is naturally good at and it will take time but it’s all good. He is obviously powerful and that is what we need.”
As Klopp suggests, for the first time on Saturday we saw a glimpse of what Oxlade-Chamberlain is capable of.
As soon as he came on, he darted down the wing and beat a man – showing his physicality and pace.
He didn’t do much else, but it signified why we bought him in the first place and gave us hope for the future.
We don’t expect Ox to start tonight against Maribor in the Champions League, but are hoping we get enough of an early lead that he can bring him on with time to do something against a defence that isn’t camped out on the 18-yard line.