Jurgen Klopp has said he is excited about the return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, a player he believes can be a “difference-maker” for Liverpool this season.
But the 27-year-old is now closing in on a first-team return. Oxlade-Chamberlain has trained fully this week, and could even be in contention to feature in Sunday’s Premier League trip to Fulham.
Speaking to reporters ahead of that gameReds boss Klopp discussed the prospect of having him available again, saying hebelieves the former Arsenal man’s presence will give his squad a welcome boost ahead of a busy festive period for the league champions.
“The moment when Ox joins parts of team training, then everyone gets the benefit,” Klopp said. “That’s the way he is. You don’t know you’ve missed him because he’s not been there for a long time, but when he comes into the gym with the players, they realise it’s much better when he’s here. He’s an energy-giver.
“If an LFC supporter forgot how good Ox is, then … well, my English is not good enough to explain that. I think we have enough opportunities to watch on social media or YouTube to see!
“I’m just happy that he’s here again; the speed, the technique, the combination, right foot, left foot. He can play different positions, scores goals.
“When he is finally back, and I don’t know if this weekend or next weekend is the case, then it’s a big plus for us.”
Klopp dismissed suggestions that Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury history – he missed the best part of a year after damaging knee ligaments in 2018 – may have diminished his powers as a player.
“I don’t understand these kind of discussions, to be honest,” he said. “You have to be injured yourself, once in your life, to understand how difficult it is to find everything completely normal and natural after an injury.
“In training, you see Ox’s quality immediately. He’s a difference-maker, you can see that. Yes, how long he can do that in a game depends on his fitness level, and his fitness level depends on the amount of sessions he’s had, the amount of games.
“But being compared with the best moment in your career after coming back after an injury, that’s a really dumb thing to do. ‘Oh, he’s not that good anymore…’ I have no time for that, to be honest.
“Ox is an outstanding player, and always will be. Did he always play perfectly? No. But he had a few really good games and helped us a lot. The longer he can stay without injury, the better he will be, and this time we are really confident we can do that until the end of his career.”
Liverpool welcomed back goalkeeper Alisson Becker to training on Friday, with the Brazilian in line to return as No.1 at Fulham despite the impressive form of stand-in Caoimhin Kelleher.
Diogo Jota, though, is expected to miss out after suffering an injury against FC Midtjylland on Wednesday. The Portugal forward, along with Greek left-backKostas Tsimikas, underwent further assessment at Kirkby on Friday, with the severity of the issues yet to be fully determined.
Source : goal.com