Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Talks Fitness, Form and 'Lupfer' Goal After Genk Double

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2019

GENK, BELGIUM - OCTOBER 23: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Liverpool celebrates the victory with his supporters following the UEFA Champions League group E match between KRC Genk and Liverpool FC at Luminus Arena on October 23, 2019 in Genk, Belgium. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain offered an update on his fitness and form after he netted a brace for Liverpool in their 4-1 win over Genk in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

Oxlade-Chamberlain made his 10th appearance of the campaign and his fifth start, but he's still yet to compete 90 minutes this season.

Per Glenn Price of Liverpool's official website, the midfielder said that fitness comes with a consistent run of games. 

"I feel like that I'm definitely fit enough and I'm in a good place where I can go and affect the game," he said. "Whether I'm at my absolute best, I don't know yet. I'm sure with more games and more minutes that will keep coming."

The 26-year-old added that with game time you "go into different gears that you didn't know you had" and pledged to supporters "there is more to come."

The England international missed almost the entirety of last season after rupturing his cruciate ligament in April 2018. He made just two substitute appearances, totalling only 19 minutes on the pitch.

He has been working his way back into the side this season, and he made his case with goals in the second and 57th minutes (U.S. and UK only, respectively):

Bleacher Report Live @brlive

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain owned the day with two masterful goals from outside the box 💥 Watch full highlights from every match here ➡️ https://t.co/HoimdAcAnG https://t.co/WH9QP93YYg

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

It took less than two minutes for Liverpool to lead in Belgium! What a moment for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on his first Champions League game for 18 months 🙌 Great hit! https://t.co/EIWf4ydv9c

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

Absolute class from The Ox!! 😱 First time ✔️ Outside of the boot ✔️ In off the crossbar ✔️ He's got his second of the night and it is truly sublime! https://t.co/nqV2xBGnno

On his second goal, Oxlade-Chamberlain was told by a German reporter the finish was a "Lupfer," which he said he'd have to confirm with manager Jurgen Klopp.

"It was a nice finish in the end, and it's nice to know I've got a 'Lupfer' in the armoury now, I'll have to bring that one out again," he said.

Oxlade-Chamberlain said he wanted to "guide" Roberto Firmino's pass into the net, but he "didn't trust the left peg, so I went for the outside of the right and, of course, just 'Lupfered' it!"

"They don't always come off," he added. "A lot of the time they'll be going over the road at Melwood into someone's garden! It's nice to see it go in."

BT Sport pundits Robin van Persie—who played with him at Arsenal—and former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand praised his contributions:

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

"He offers something totally different." On a night the Ox shone, @rioferdy5 breaks down the extra dimension he brings to the Liverpool midfield. https://t.co/F3I4fhIAry

Football writer Leanne Prescott also enjoyed his performance and the goal:

Leanne Prescott @_lfcleanne

Absolutely delighted for Chamberlain. Made a big impact at Old Trafford, earned a start tonight and has oozed confidence. Great hit for the first goal and an exquisite, inventive lob for the second. Takes this side up another gear when on top form.

Liverpool tend to rely heavily on their front three for goals and on their full-backs for creativity.

The midfield offers a great deal of industry, but the likes of Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Fabinho haven't contributed that much in an attacking sense.

Wijnaldum is capable of it—he reached double figures for goals in five of his last six seasons prior to joining the Reds, and the only exception was when a back injury limited him to just 15 appearances in the 2013-14 campaign. However, his role at Anfield gives him less licence to go forward.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is a dynamic operator in the centre, and—while he only netted 20 goals in 198 outings for Arsenal—he could give the Reds more of a spark in the final third than they've had from their midfielders.

Liverpool racked up 97 points in the Premier League and won the UEFA Champions League last season without him, while this term they won their first eight league games in a row with him still making his way back to match fitness.

Although it may seem like there's little room for improvement there, the team could get even better when Oxlade-Chamberlain is back at full capacity.  


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