Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp Says Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 'Needs to Be Patient'

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2019

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Liverpool FC at St Mary's Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has urged Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to be patient as he returns to action for the Reds following a lengthy injury lay-off. 

Per Goal, the midfielder is said to be "desperate" to start against his former club Arsenal on Saturday, but Klopp wants him to take his time:

"He needs to be patient in the right way, and everything will be fine 100 per cent. We only talk about Ox because everybody knows how good he is.

"We need to make sure that he can show that on the pitch as well. When I make the decision that he is now ready then it is my responsibility of course, and the boy only has to try to do his best. That's what Ox obviously did."

The 26-year-old arrived at Anfield in the 2017-18 season. With his energy and dynamism in midfield, he looked well-suited to life under Klopp and was enjoying some strong form before suffering a knee ligament injury in April last year.

Oxlade-Chamberlain did not make another first-team appearance for 12 months, when he came on as a substitute in a 5-0 win over Huddersfield Town on April 26.

He made his first senior start since the injury last Wednesday in the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea, but he was brought off at half-time.

The England international played a fine pass to Mohamed Salah that led to the Egyptian testing Kepa Arrizabalaga, but he otherwise struggled to get into the game, as David Lynch of the Evening Standard observed:

David Lynch @LynchStandard

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the man to make way. May just be a lack of match sharpness but he didn't make the impact he would have liked to in the first half.

Klopp said he did not speak to the midfielder after taking him off, and added: "It's a completely normal situation. He had a difficult game, and we have a sensational offensive option on the bench, so I thought it made sense to use that. That was all, nothing else."

Another start against former club Southampton came on Saturday, and he lasted almost the entire game.

This Is Anfield's Jack Lusby was impressed with his performance:

Jack Lusby @jacklusby_

Ox much more positive in midfield, basically playing as a No. 10: demanding the ball on the turn, pressing well and playing some nice balls behind the defence - including one which saw Salah blast high and wide from the left.

After missing most of last season, having Oxlade-Chamberlain back as a midfield option gives Klopp even more to work with in what is already a strong area of the pitch for the Reds.

If he can get back to the same level of form he was showing before his injury, he'll be an excellent asset.

As eager as he'll be to get back to regular action, though, particularly against former club Arsenal, patience is important after such a long time out.

It's likely to be an intense game against the Gunners, so playing him from the start could be a little risky.