Former England striker Darren Bent is expecting Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to be handed a start this weekend.
The 26-year-old scored the Reds’ winning goal against Genk in the Champions League in midweek and has four goals in his last four games, a run of form that has led Bent to call for Jurgen Klopp to name him in the starting line-up for tomorrow’s Premier League clash against Manchester City.
The ex-Tottenham striker also reckons that Fabinho is a highly likely starter at Anfield this weekend, while he expects the other berth in Liverpool’s midfield to be contested between Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum.
Bent has been singing the praises of Oxlade-Chamberlain, telling Football Insider: “He’s been sensational since he came back, he’s been brilliant and he’s forcing Klopp’s hand to play him because arguably he’s been one of their best players.
“For Liverpool, that’s a real positive, for the championship, you want your best players ready to play games. I think he’ll go Fabinho, Henderson and Ox, or you go Fabinho, Wijnaldum and the Ox. Either way, it’s Fabinho, the Ox and then whichever one you want to put in there, feel free.”
Bent is quite right to make a case for both Fabinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain to start against Manchester City tomorrow.
The Brazilian is virtually assured of his place in the starting XI, with Klopp leaving him out against Aston Villa last weekend in the knowledge that a yellow card would have resulted in his suspension for the visit of the Premier League champions to Anfield, as Fabinho already has four in the league this season.
He had played the entirety of Liverpool’s previous eight league matches before the trip to Villa Park and has been ever-present in the Champions League campaign (as per TransferMarkt), indicating that he is a firm favourite of the manager.
The 26-year-old has won more tackles per game (2.5) than any other Liverpool player in the Premier League this season, an attribute that could be crucial tomorrow considering that Manchester City have averaged 21.8 shots per game in the division so far this term.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has had a much tougher time convincing Klopp of his ability, having started only two league matches in 2019/20, the most recent of those being the win over Newcastle in mid-September. [via WhoScored]
That hasn’t stopped him from filling his boots in the Champions League and Carabao Cup recently, though, with three goals across the two matches against Genk and another goal in the 10-goal thriller against former club Arsenal at the end of October. [via TransferMarkt]
Since the October international break, he has shown better form than Liverpool’s forwards. In that time, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have scored just twice each, while Roberto Firmino is without a goal in nearly two months.
It’s easy to see why Bent feels that Oxlade-Chamberlain should start against Manchester City given his excellent form, while Fabinho is virtually guaranteed his place having been rested last week to avoid being suspended for tomorrow’s top of the table clash.
Liverpool fans, do you agree with Bent’s views on the midfield to play against Manchester City tomorrow? Join in the discussion by commenting below!
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