A report by the Liverpool Echo yesterday suggested the club would be looking to keep hold of English midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. This is in part due to the impending departure of Takumi Minamino.

With the club also choosing to hold off their search for a new midfielder until next summer, the 28 year old is seen as ‘a valuable member of the squad’ with his versatility meaning he can cover different positions in midfield and attack.

This is a surprising development given Ox fell out of favour in the closing months of last season. He was constantly overlooked as Jürgen Klopp went with his preferred midfield trio of Fabinho, Henderson and Thiago more often than not.

He rotated that trio often enough, and even then Ox didn’t get a look in. Naby Keita, Curtis Jones and even Harvey Elliott (upon his return from injury) were all above the ex-Arsenal man in the pecking order. Ox was left out of multiple matchday squads as a result.

The most high profile were the League Cup and FA Cup final. Even when Thiago pulled up with an injury in the warmup of the former, Elliott was chosen over Ox to replace the Spaniard in the matchday squad (with the youngster coming on to tuck away a penalty in the shootout).

It was a disappointing end to the season and the writing was on the wall regarding his future at the club. It all came to a head in the penultimate league game of the season. The gaffer made nine changes for the trip to Southampton, just days after the draining FA Cup final.

Ox was still overlooked with a midfield trio of Milner, Elliott and Jones selected. There was no cameo off the bench either, as he failed to play a single minute of Premier League football since an hour long outing against Norwich in February.

It was only last summer that the club was making noises about giving the midfielder a new lease of life as a false nine. What ensued was a below par season that brought just 29 appearances in all competitions (17 starts), 3 goals and 3 assists.

Oxlade-Chamberlain made fewer appearances than Jordan Henderson (57), Fabinho (48), Naby Keita (40), Thiago Alcantara (39) and James Milner (39). Whilst he featured in two more games than Curtis Jones, the youngster made more starts (18).

The numbers paints a different picture to what we’re being led to believe. This is a player who was pretty much bottom of the pecking order in midfield, behind a 21 year old Jones and an 18 year old Elliott.

How is he now a viable option because the club is reportedly choosing to wait till 2023 to reinforce in midfield? The fruitless chase of Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni clearly proves the club is aware of the need to address the midfield.

They may see Jude Bellingham as the perfect alternative but with Dortmund not willing to play ball this summer (after losing Haaland this window), the expectation is for Liverpool to go in for the 18 year old next summer.

Jürgen Klopp has form for waiting for his preferred target. He did so for Naby Keita, Virgil Van Dijk and more recently Ibrahima Konaté. This period of waiting may have handed Ox an unexpected lifeline at the club.

He seems settled with his young family on Merseyside. His child was born here and he just proposed to his girlfriend. He’s well liked in the dressing room as well and seems pretty low maintenance. The club see more value in retaining him for the final year of his contract.

If they sold him this summer (as many expected at the end of the season), they’d only receive a nominal fee. They would have then been forced into the market when their number one midfield target is unavailable.

This is a calculated risk as the Reds will head into the season knowing they needed reinforcement in midfield. Sure, Ox proved himself useful in January when he scored in back to back league games playing on the right wing in the absence of Mané and Salah.

His nationality doesn’t hurt either as he boosts the club’s homegrown quota. One wonders if he wouldn’t ask for a move himself seeing as the World Cup is around the corner. Regular game time elsewhere could see him put himself in Gareth Southgate’s thoughts.

If he chooses to stay, can Jürgen Klopp get more out of him than he managed last season? Does the player have more to offer than he showed last season? He was inconsistent at the best of times. We will find out soon one way or the other.



  1. Ox is an exciting player when he’s in the groove, I would love him to stay but the squad is evolving and if he can’t adapt to the changes it’ll be best he leaves. Hopefully this pre season would rekindle old flames

    Liked by 1 person

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