Former Liverpool coach Michael Beale has spoken out about the club’s signing of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in 2017, saying that he felt the England midfielder would succeed under Jurgen Klopp at Anfield.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, the Rangers assistant manager said that the former Arsenal man was signed for the energy he could bring to the Reds’ line-up and had faith in him when others were more doubtful.
Beale told the Liverpool Echo: “I think, talking about Jurgen, he has a very unique style of play in terms of the Gegenpressing – or whatever you want to call it – with that high-energy football and I think he recruits for that.
“If you look at that, player for player and position since he came in, he has really recruited for that to get that energy into the team. When Liverpool signed Oxlade-Chamberlain, I was telling my friends, who were a bit up and down on him, I said he would be a fantastic signing for Liverpool because working inside the club, you just know how someone would come in and fit.”
At the time of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s signing from Arsenal two years ago, he had not been in the best of form for Arsenal.
Playing mainly as a right-sided midfielder, his last 17 league appearances of 2016/17 yielded no goals and just three assists, while he did not contribute any goal involvements in four games for the Gunners at the start of the following campaign before he joined Liverpool in August 2017.
Klopp used the England international as a wide midfielder for many of his earliest appearances at Anfield before giving him a run of games as a central midfielder in the second half of the season. [via TransferMarkt]
In Oxlade-Chamberlain’s first nine league games for the Reds, playing mostly in a wide role, he managed only one goal and zero assists. [via TransferMarkt]
When he was switched to a central position, he contributed two goals and seven assists for the remainder of the Premier League season, while his two Champions League goals in 2017/18 also came when he was playing through the middle.
He had been selected for, and made his mark in, some significant games that season, not least the Premier League and Champions League home wins over Manchester City, but a serious knee injury against Roma in April 2018 ruled him out for a whole year and he has only started two league matches since returning from that convalescence.
Oxlade-Chamberlain may have seemed a curious signing by Liverpool two years ago, given his largely ineffective performances for Arsenal.
However, once Klopp switched him to a mainly central midfield role, the England man came into his stride and proved both Beale and his manager correct. Now, it’s a matter of seeing if he can get back into the Reds’ line-up regularly and hit those same heights again.
Liverpool fans, what did you think of the signing of Oxlade-Chamberlain at the time? Has he taken you by surprise with his performances for the Reds? Share your views in the comments section below!
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