Jurgen Klopp has offered some clarification over the progression of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – saying that while he played 40 minutes for the U23s against Derby County before the internationals, the Reds will take his recovery very slowly.
The boss says that his excitement before the international break was a little premature – and the Reds’ number 21 is still a little way of a full return.
Having been out for almost a year with a ligament injury sustained against AS Roma in the Champions League semi-final, it is no surprise that the medical department will tread carefully with the midfielder’s return.
In the meantime, though, Klopp is keen not to have to discuss Oxlade-Chamberlain too much, preferring to wait until there is something closer to a return date at first-team level booked in.
He said in his pre-Spurs press conference, via LiverpoolFC.com: “I think one of the biggest mistakes I made [in press conferences] was being so excited about having Ox back – not because it’s not exciting having Ox back, it’s very exciting.
“But the spotlight on the game at Derby with the U23s was pretty rare. I’m pretty sure Ox felt a little bit after the last session with us and then he played the game and felt a little bit more. Everybody was looking at it.
“When he is back, and when he is ready to be properly back, then I will inform you. Until then, I will not speak about Ox.”
The club still hopes that Oxlade-Chamberlain will feature before the end of the season, but it is likely to be off the bench, and he might not be at the same level he was last year until next season.
It seems we’ll just have to contain our excitement for a little while longer.