Return of the Ox
Fans Buoyed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Fitness Speculation
Rumours suggest he’s an “outside chance” of an early return, but Jürgen Klopp may exercise caution in not rushing him back too soon. The injury Alex suffered against Roma in last season’s Champions League semi-final was a triple blow for the midfielder. He missed not only the final, but also England’s World Cup campaign, and was supposed to be out for the entirety of the 2018/19 season.
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Absolutely devastated to have picked up this injury at such a crucial time in the season. Gutted I won’t be able to play any further part now in our Champions League run for Liverpool, and also the World Cup with England. But now it’s all about supporting the boys and getting behind them. I know we have what it takes to do something special in this tournament. I’m going to give everything I have to make sure I’m back as quickly as possible. However, this all pales in comparison to how the family of the liverpool fan badly hurt before last nights game must be feeling. My thoughts are with him and his loved ones. Thank you for all your kind words, messages and support. I’ll see you soon. #YNWA
The Ox’s injury was complex. He suffered damage to multiple ligaments in his knee and underwent surgery eight days after. It was a successful operation with no complications, but he decided to keep news of the injury’s severity quiet as he didn’t want to distract from the team’s journey to the final. A thoughtful gesture from a lovely lad.
Klopp was full of praise and said,
“It feels like now is an appropriate time to tell people that for Ox this coming season will be about focusing on recovery and rehab.
“We have known this from pretty much the day after he got surgery, we were sure of it. I hope everyone treats this information responsibly. There has been no change, no setback- it’s exactly on the schedule we expected and planned for. The new information is that we’re now giving more detail publicly.
“It is typical of Ox that he didn’t want the news to overshadow the end of the season and, to be quite honest, we thought we could wait and tell people at an appropriate time.
“His surgery – which he had on the day of our second leg in Roma – had been completely successful and his recovery has started superbly well.
“But the truth of the matter is that we are preparing this season knowing he will not be with us on the pitch for competitive matches for the majority of it. If we do see him back this season it will be a bonus.”
Signing for Liverpool
The Ox signed from Arsenal on deadline day of the 2017/18 summer transfer window for £35 million. It was a deal the Gunners didn’t want to make, but had no choice, as he wouldn’t agree to a contract extension.
The seemingly high-price shocked some fans at the time, as he only had one year left on his contract. Many supporters wondered where he’d fit into the team and weren’t too excited by the signing. All doubts would vanish by the new year though. Arsenal’s loss would be Liverpool’s gain.
Klopp knew what he was doing and said,
“I hear a lot of talk about positions but let’s talk about the player.
“He is someone with really good abilities who always gives everything for his team. A player that is positive and willing to take risks to try and make positive things happen.
“He may still be young but he has a lot of experience in the Premier League, Champions League and for his country. Already he is a very, very good player and I think he has the mentality and desire to get even better – and that excites me.
“I am really, really happy we have got Alex signed. Since the last game I have been waiting and hoping we could make this transfer – and when I got the news he was ours it was fantastic.”
Klopp eased him into a starting role over a six month period with the intention of using his speed to enhance Liverpool’s overall potency.
His first appearance was as a substitute against Manchester City. It wasn’t an ideal debut though as he came on when Liverpool had already been reduced to 10 men. We went on to lose the game 5-0.
His first goal for the club came on the 17th of October in the away match against Maribor. He came off the bench to help Liverpool win the game 7-0, which is the joint largest away win in Champions League history.
He scored his first Premier League goal for Liverpool on the 4th of November against West Ham in a 4-1 victory. The Ox was starting to make an impression on the fans, and he was becoming a vital part of the squad.
Not long after, he announced himself to the Kop against Manchester City in a famous 4-3 victory which ended City’s hopes of an invincible season. Alex scored the first goal of the game, and what a goal it was. This was the moment that all fans recognised Klopp’s vision. The Ox played behind the front three and used his pace to terrorise City on and off the ball with his pressing and drive from midfield.
He continued to haunt City by smashing home a brilliant goal from outside the box in the Champions League quarter-final. Liverpool went on to win 3-0, with Salah and Mane scoring too. It was a first-half blitz for Liverpool, and the second-half was all about the defence. City didn’t have one shot on target.
After the game, Oxlade-Chamberlain was full of praise for the home support. He said,
“It was a great start for us – going 3-0 up before half-time set us up brilliantly.
“We knew we had to start fast, but I don’t think that was hard today with the atmosphere. From coming into the ground right through the warm-up, the fans were unbelievable out there.
“It got me going and I’m sure it got the rest of boys going. We’ve won the game in the first half and then had to defend well in second.
“It was a good strike. The space just opened up for me, I’ve been working on that, on trying to do it more often. I showed myself that if it’s on more often I can keep doing it.”
The Ox went on to record 5 goals and 7 assists in all competitions. A promising debut season which was tragically cut short. The result against Real Madrid could’ve been so different if he’d played in the final. We missed him in that game, and his team-mates have missed him in training too.
Thankfully, according to reports, Alex is way ahead of schedule and has even kicked a ball. I think it won’t be long before he’s back on the field playing in the Red shirt.