Paul Merson has criticised the false nine position that Jurgen Klopp operates with after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain found it ‘difficult’ to perform against Aston Villa on Saturday.
The 28-year-old began the game in the role usually occupied by Bobby Firmino or Diogo Jota, and although the Reds did come away with all three points thanks to a second-half Mo Salah penalty, the Liverpool No .15 struggled to have much of an impact on the game.
“It has never been a position. So you are asking someone to play in a position that isn’t a position. So it was hard, it was hard for him. Villa sat very deep, they pinned them back,” the 53-year-old said on Sky Sports (via HITC).
“For me, I thought he found it a little bit difficult today.”
Steven Gerrard’s side did sit very deep meaning that our No. 15 had very little room to operate in – it was clear for all present at Anfield that the former Arsenal man struggled to get into the game.
To be fair to the Ox, that’s not his position.
Many believe he’s at his best when he’s in an advanced midfield role meaning he can showcase his ability to drive at defenders and beat them with his pace and power.
He performed well against AC Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday when he started in midfield but the Englishman is finding a constant run of games to find consistency hard to come by.
The Ox will continue to be provided opportunities, especially as we head into the busy festive schedule and whilst Mo Salah and Sadio Mane are at the African Cup of Nations in January.
No Liverpool supporter will question his quality, he has shown previously that he can be a real game-changer.
He needs to remain patient, keep working hard and eventually he will see the rewards.
chamberlain is neither a midfielder or a forward as in both positions he passes the ball instead of pressing forward