Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain missed the current season after he picked up a knee injury during Liverpool’s pre-season in August. now closing in on a first-team return, Jurgen Klopp believes he can be a “difference-maker” for Liverpool this season.
handed an injury update during his Fulham pre-match conference and wasn’t shy to show his excitement about the return of the long-time absentee,
“The moment when Ox joins parts of team training, then everyone gets the benefit,”
“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.”
dismissed suggestions that the long history of
injury and absence might cause diminishment of his powers as a player.
“I don’t understand these kind of discussions, to be honest,”
“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.”
is expected to return alongside Oxlade-Chamberlain, while
is a doubt for the Fulham game as he picked up a knock against FC Midtjylland on Wednesday.
Liverpool will miss
(knee) in addition to long-term absentees
Virgil van Dijk