With reports that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is upset with his game time at Liverpool, he still finds himself with more questions than answers…


I FOUND myself having a moment of weakness the other week.

Liverpool had just drawn 2-2 with Brighton & Hove Albion and Adam Lallana was undergoing a lap of honour around the Anfield pitch. I turned to my mate to express my undying love for the Seagulls’ midfielder and felt myself getting a bit overwhelmed.

You may think that’s daft, or that it was some kind of byproduct of The Reds dropping two more disappointing points, but I promise it wasn’t.

It partly came from a personal angle. I had interviewed Lallana about the Borussia Dortmund comeback in 2016 just after Brighton beat Liverpool at Anfield behind closed doors last season, and after the interview he spoke of how weird the experience was. He had expected to go back, see his old mates, see the fans, show his appreciation and feel it reciprocated.

Instead, he wasn’t even really allowed to be in close proximity to his former teammates and coaches, and there wasn’t a single supporter in the stands — save for the press box Reds and the odd matchday official.

But also I just miss him, to be honest. I miss him, and I miss Daniel Sturridge (steady hands I rebuke you), and I miss Gini Wijnaldum, and the list could go on. They’re lads who have given me some of the best moments of my adult life so far and I’ll never forget that. I hope each eventually gets the reception Lallana got.

I’ve gone soft, haven’t I? It’s probably why the Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain rumours have given me seriously conflicting feelings.

The Ox’s career still feels like one of slightly wasted potential, which is mad considering he’s a 28-year-old who has won almost every top honour in English and European football. It still feels like he could have always been that little bit more, but the injuries have been ever present for him and I’m sure that eats him up far more than it could any of us.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is carried off injured during the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and AS Roma at Anfield

His best spell in a Liverpool shirt came during the 2017-18 season, with goals to help seal wins against Manchester City in the Premier League and Champions League the highlights, finishing with five goals and eight assists. He made just two appearances the following season, then recorded his best scoring season with eight goals in 2019-20.

Those seasons made up 87 (75 per cent) of his 116 appearances in a red shirt. In the season and a bit that brings us to the current day, he has made just seven starts despite being named in the squad some 29 times. That limited game time has brought him just one goal and three assists.

It makes for pretty bleak reading for a lad who was previously a huge part of Jurgen Klopp’s identity he was imprinting upon this Liverpool side. Now he represents a slightly more problematic figure, with his reliability and overall ability coming into question in the face of an injury crisis in midfield.

What should’ve been a moment to get a grip of his career at Anfield and rediscover his finest form has suddenly become anything but, and it felt as though it was only a matter before rumours of unrest started to come to the fore — as reported by Neil Jones of Goal.com.

Chamberlain seems not only a good lad, but one that Klopp trusts to be able to be very frank with. The manager has made little secret of that with several mentions of the player in his recent press conferences, where reading between the lines you get the feeling that he feels he can’t do the jobs that others in the squad can nowadays.

So once again the former Arsenal man finds himself with more questions than answers about what comes next. I personally will continue to struggle with those questions, because it’s impossible for me to not make it a personal matter. I’m sure that’s a far more intense feeling for him and his manager.

I’ll always have the memories of Oxlade-Chamberlain if nothing else. I’ll cling onto the idea that there is still more to come. There may always be that feeling it could’ve been even more, though.

Perhaps he can still show the more we’re looking for, but time waits for no man.

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