Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool)
Oh boy. Jurgen Klopp let slip that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was in line for his first start for Liverpool in midweek, a full 19 days and four games since he joined for £35m. The 24-year-old will surely feature in his favoured position of central midfield against Leicester on Tuesday, but this was not what he had in mind when leaving Arsenal for more opportunities and a “kick up the backside” in the summer.
Klopp offered something of an explanation for drip-feeding Oxlade-Chamberlain into the Liverpool side, saying that the club are working behind the scenes to “show him how we want to play in this position, that position”. Be it central midfield, attacking midfield or on the wing, there is an adjustment period when transitioning from Arsene Wenger to Klopp’s coaching style.
But while the need to imbue Oxlade-Chamberlain with the skills and knowledge to play in Klopp’s system is obvious, one cannot help but feel his talents could have been used more wisely so far. His introduction against Manchester City when a man and two goals down felt forced and unnecessary, and illustrated a lack of understanding as to what he offers. Then in games against Sevilla and Burnley, with the Reds chasing a win on both occasions, the England international was handed one and 11 minutes respectively. Klopp appears to be unsure how to use his new expensive toy.