United disappointment for Oxlade-Chamberlain but plenty of positives for the midfielder

Liverpool increased their lead at the top of the Premier League to a mesmerising 16 points — with the addition of a game in hand — demoralising a depleted Manchester United. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain began the game in the midfield before being withdrawn in the second half, much to his displeasure. There is certainly a lot for the 26-year-old to be pleased about, though.

Since concluding a £35 million deal to join Jürgen Klopp’s revolutionary Reds, Oxlade-Chamberlain has surprised many and established himself as a key player in a strong squad. Many wondered if the signing of the Ox suited the club and questioned his desire to play a more central midfield role as opposed to his past wide role. His performances have certainly answered these questions.

The former Arsenal man has been nothing short of superb following his arrival in the summer of 2017. He has proven himself to be not only a quality asset on the pitch but also off it. Although, it’s clear that there’s one main highlight that has implemented his name in the memory of many Reds worldwide — his thumping effort in the Champions League to knock out Pep Guardiola’s City, a sensational moment to say the least.

Despite finding himself on the verge of writing his name in club history, things haven’t always been straightforward for the Southampton academy product. Countless injuries and sickening setbacks have continued to hamper his flourishing career and it’s hard to be frustrated with a player who has faced so much frustration for wanting to be on the field doing what he loves.

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His substitution against United to be replaced by Adam Lallana was certainly not taken well, but it’s easy to understand both Klopp’s reasoning and the Ox’s reaction. As crucial games continue to come thick and fast, it’s understandable for the manager to want to maintain his squad’s fitness, while also allowing other players minutes to keep them fresh.

Having said that, Oxlade-Chamberlain was enjoying a positive performance in a huge game, something which didn’t look likely just a month ago when he was provided a protective boot for his ankle.

A positive performance could easily have warranted a full 90 minutes, but on this occasion it wasn’t to be. There is still plenty that the Ox should be pleased about. After sustaining what looked to be a serious injury in the Club World Cup just last month, he has since found himself starting two huge games for the club back-to-back, away against Spurs and then at home against United.

Further to that, there is arguably a spot waiting for the enthusiastic man at Euro 2020 with England due to his impressive attitude, mixed with stunning performances in recent seasons. Add to that the potential additions of more titles and it’s not looking too bad, is it?

James Miller

Contributor. Bobby Firmino enthusiast. Miller, not Milner.

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