Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will return for Liverpool this week when he joins their u23 side for their game against Derby on Friday.
The former Arsenal man has hardly had a chance to make an impression at Anfield since his move there in 2017, struck down by injury once again.
Liverpool reportedly considered using him for their reserve game against Everton on Monday but are sticking with a cautious recovery plan for the midfielder.
It will still be some time before he can play a role in Liverpool’s title chase, however, with a firs-team return not pencilled in until April if all goes well between now and then.
“I’d love to be able to make an appearance at least before the end of the season, depending on what we’re doing and if I’m needed – I’m sure I won’t be,” he said back in November.
“Even when I’m back I won’t be fully at the races or fully fit, but it would be nice just to get a few appearances before the end of the season, probably more mentally to prove that I can do it and then have a good pre-season and start fresh next season.”
But it was his comments about his time at Arsenal that really stuck in the throat. “I’ve had injuries in the past where it’s been difficult because pressure from fans has been “he’s injured again” or “we can’t trust him he’s always injured”.
“But I’ve got injured here and I’ve had nothing but positive feedback from the fans, which for me I can’t thank them enough and that’s what keeps me going every day to try and reward their patience and support.”
If the Ox’s memory is good enough, perhaps he can think back to the first injury he suffered at Arsenal and ask himself how much support he got from fans then? I think he’ll find it’s quite a lot. It’s easy to be positive when it’s the first injury with a new club.
But during the six years he was at Arsenal, the Ox suffered 11 different injuries, ruling him out of a total of 154 games. In his last four seasons at Arsenal, he suffered four serious knee injuries alone that kept him out for 308 days.
Those weren’t games that Liverpool fans noticed he wasn’t playing, nor were they games Liverpool were paying him for.
The fans might be supportive now, but the two situations are incomparable. Let’s see how they’re feeling when he’s missed the same number of games for them over the remaining years of his contract.