Jurgen Klopp have an honest assessment of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s Super Cup performance last night.
The midfielder really struggled out on the left, and our attacking potential completely changed when he was withdrawn at half-time for Roberto Firmino – our best player by some distance.
In truth, even before his injury, we’ve never rated Ox as a winger, as he drifts in and out of the game too much – but think he’s brilliant as a box-to-box no.8.
We imagine the player finds it equally frustrating to not be used in his best position after such a long time on the sidelines, and his manager explained that the quiet 45 minutes had more to do with the lay-off than anything else.
“I didn’t say a lot to Ox [at half-time] I don’t think it was necessary. It was very important for him to have these minutes,” he told the Echo.
“It’s a position he can play and he can play much better than he did tonight. That’s how it is after a long injury, you have to find your rhythm.
“In training it’s already there. In the game he had good moments but not enough for his quality.
“It was a very intense game and I had to make that decision because I didn’t want to push him. We wanted to give him an opportunity to shine.
“It wasn’t as possible as we would have wished in that position, but that was my mistake and not his as I made that decision.”
We’d just like to see Ox used in our central three – especially over James Milner when Jordan Henderson is playing.
This isn’t a criticism of our evergreen no.7, but when he and the skipper both play either side of Fabinho – we can lack dynamism.
Ox’s dribbles through central areas are a key asset of his – and with Naby Keita injured – he’s the only player capable of fulfilling such a role in the squad.
The key now is for Klopp to trust the 25-year-old as a roaming midfielder, instead of considering him a rotationary option for the front-three.