Jurgen Klopp says that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has to wait and prove himself before being handed a central midfield role at Liverpool.
Klopp has admitted that the Ox has to play on the wing for the time being until he’s given the chance to play in his preferred central role at Liverpool.
“At the moment it is more the wing than the (number) eight,” Klopp said.
“At the moment it is clear but I know it is a long-term thing and so without training and playing in the middle of the park it doesn’t make sense.
“For now it makes more sense to pick him in the more offensive positions – but it is not fixed for the next five years.
“Obviously it is a different style to Arsenal and a different role to the wing-back role he played in his last games for Arsenal.
“Then he plays for England and they all come back from their national teams not confused, but with different plans. That is not too simple.
“I would say there has been no consistency until now. We let him run so far, let him do what he is naturally good at, and it will take time but it’s all good.
“He is obviously powerful and that is what we need.”
After Arsenal beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final, the Ox admitted that he wanted to be the next Steven Gerrard. Sure enough, on Transfer Deadline Day, the 24-year-old completed his £35m move to Merseyside despite there being interest from Chelsea.
Part of the reason for the move was said to be the Englishman’s desire to play centrally. Not as a wide man or wing-back, where he played at Arsenal and probably would have starred for Chelsea.
However, since signing for the Reds, the Ox has struggled to get game time at all, let alone in his favoured position.
So far, he’s yet to make a start in the Premier League and has only managed a total of 84 minutes over five appearances. The only full match he’s played was Liverpool’s League Cup loss to Leicester and he didn’t exactly impress.
As it stands, if the Ox wants game time, he’s going to have to make his peace with playing out wide. Just like he would have had to do at Arsenal.