Liverpool: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can be as key as Philippe Coutinho, says Danny Higginbotham

Liverpool: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can be as key as Philippe Coutinho, says Danny Higginbotham

‘Similar to what Coutinho was doing’ – Sky Sports pundit likens Liverpool player to former star

Sky Sports pundit Danny Higginbotham thinks Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gives Liverpool a similar attacking option to Philippe Coutinho.

The former Premier League footballer suggested that while the players themselves do not compare, they are utilised within Liverpool’s system in the same way, and he has backed Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has recently returned from a long-term injury lay-off, to offer the Reds a fresh attacking option from deep.

Having started Liverpool’s win at Southampton last weekend, the 26-year-old could be in line for further minutes as he continues his comeback against another former club in Arsenal on Saturday – and Higginbotham feels that Liverpool’s plan is to get the midfielder forward at every opportunity.

He said: “The way Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain plays, he wants to get forward from midfield.

“Roberto Firmino likes to drop deep, so there is going to be space in behind for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to get into. That’s something he was doing really well before he picked up his injury.

“It will take a bit of time for him to get back up to speed again but he’s an important player for Liverpool and can give them something different.

“I’m not comparing him to Philippe Coutinho but it’s similar to what Coutinho was doing at Liverpool to a certain extent, getting beyond the midfield with players in front of him. That’s what Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is capable of.”

Assuming that Jurgen Klopp has not tinkered with the system that has brought him success in the shape of a European trophy, there may be reason to believe Oxlade-Chamberlain could fit into the ‘Coutinho’ role, despite Higginbotham not directly comparing the two.

WhoScored suggests both players are proficient at through balls and long shots, as well as sharing passing traits, which could mean Oxlade-Chamberlain befits the type of role Coutinho used to perform at Anfield – backing up Higginbotham’s comments from a stylistic point of view.

Having had little luck with injury since his Liverpool move two years ago, whether the midfielder can fulfil the role of Coutinho remains to be seen – but there may be more similarities between the two than Higginbotham thinks.

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