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    Sunday, 9 May 2021

    Jurgen Klopp's admission makes Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Liverpool stance clear

    There will be few Liverpool players who may not be looking back on this season with any fondness


    Mohamed Salah, outside the pack will take plenty of pride from his own personal performances, scoring 29 goals this, as will Fabinho, who has shone as a defender-midfielder hybrid.

    Nat Phillips has also enjoyed a breakout campaign after being given his chance by a debilitating injury list at centre-back, also.

    But virtually the rest of the Reds squad will reflect on events of 2020/21 with frustration when the final whistle blows on May 23.

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will count himself among that particular pack.

    After undergoing surgery last summer to repair damaged medial ligaments, it wouldn't be until December when he would return to a match-day squad.

    His first appearance of the campaign arrived in the 7-0 win over Crystal Palace on the 19th of that month, shortly before Liverpool's tailspin began at the end of the calendar year.

    Two starts this season is patently not what the one-time England man would have wanted when he got himself fit once more, either.

    But for Jurgen Klopp, Oxlade-Chamberlain's inactivity is simply down to the structural damage that his Liverpool team have been forced to operate with.

    The knock-on effect of season-ending lay-offs for Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip has been a key factor behind Oxlade-Chamberlain watching most of this year from the bench.

    A simple victim of circumstance, Klopp says.

    "This situation is not always easy for all the boys, not only Ox, but for Naby Keita, not easy for Shaq (Xherdan Shaqiri), for other players it is not easy, I know that," Klopp conceded on Friday.

    "But how I said, during that season, a lot of things have happened and the one thing we try to do is get and keep balance and rhythm and stability.

    "That means you don't change these kinds of positions too often during games and that is it pretty much..

    "So we need a few things, with always having a different defence, a few things in midfield need to be different to other times when we were much more settled and much more stable and that is the reason why some players don't have enough minutes."

    But while it has been a campaign to forget for the former Arsenal man, Klopp remains adamant that Oxlade-Chamberlain is in his plans going forward.

    "They understand the situation, for sure in my understanding, that is clear, but hopefully that will completely change next year," Klopp added.

    "Because when you have more stability in the last line then you can be more flexible formation-wise further up the pitch.

    "The summer is important for all of us but for Ox, you can say exactly the same about each player.

    "When you don't start games and you have to use every training session and every minute on the pitch to convince actually.

    "I don't have to be convinced actually, but it's about showing up in these kinds of moments. Oxlade had some good moments, he has shown up really well and that is good."

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