We all know that on his day Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a monstrously effective midfielder.
He can run, fight, shoot and everything in between. It’s true that he’s not been at his best post restart, but his game-time has come in the form of cameos in different positions rather than anything in which he’s been able to nail down.
Jurgen Klopp explained as much in his press-conference yesterday, in which he vehemently defended Ox and discussed the incredible games he’s played for us.
“But on a day when the team is not performing on the highest level, when the pitch is dry like the Sahara, and the wind is blowing like madness like you are on a ship on the sea, then it’s really difficult to make an impression,” he told the Standard.
“If you have a lack of rhythm, change the little positions and all that kind of stuff, that’s how it is.
“And now we talk about that these players don’t put enough pressure on the first XI, are not close enough, cannot play
“Oxlade-Chamberlain, if he’s not in your first XI, he played incredible games for this club, he won pretty much alone against City a year or so ago.
“He’s not a worse footballer since then, it’s just not easy always to be there.
“I cannot judge the players because of a game in which the whole team is not performing great. I see them in training and I know that they are more than options for me.”
Klopp is right to defend his players – and not the starters – but the subs as well. Against Barcelona last season, half of them started on a night we didn’t have Mo Salah or Roberto Firmino and gave us the greatest night in Anfield history.
Hopefully the likes of Ox, Divock Origi, Takumi Minamino and a few others will put in some stellar outings over the next few weeks as we continue our assault on Manchester City’s points record.
And Klopp will be the first to claim we couldn’t have done it without them.