Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Just Have A Little Patience…

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It’s been a far from ideal start to life at Liverpool for new boy Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, after the midfielder signed from Arsenal on deadline day.

Joining off the back a thoroughly promising 4-0 win against his former-club, The Reds were largely expected to kick on with another highly versatile player in the ranks to add depth and experience amid a rigorous new campaign.

Yet, with Liverpool booted out the Carabao Cup after a 2-0 defeat against Leicester before suffering another obstacle in the road on Tuesday night against Spartak Moscow, things haven’t quite gone to plan.

During that time, the 24-year-old has largely featured in a series of short cameos from the bench, making his first start for the club against Leicester.

That night panned out very differently to how Chamberlain would’ve wanted, with the Englishman delivering a distinctly average performance against The Foxes.  Sluggish on the ball, Chamberlain lost possession more times than most, with his end product also lacking in quality.

Yet, with just one start to his name since making a £35-40million move to Anfield, patience is desperately needed by those labelling him a waste of money so early into his Reds career.

What many fans seem to have forgotten is this is a player who’s only been at the club a matter of weeks. Making a high profile move from Arsenal, Chamberlain has come into a new environment with little time to adapt to Klopp’s style of play.

He’s got to learn a new approach and way of thinking under Klopp, with the German’s gegenpressing style putting huge physical demands on the players. At Arsenal, an inconsistent patch of appearances saw the midfielder’s confidence shot – that too will take time to rebuild before we see Klopp get the best out of him.

Often vilified for his sub-par performances, Chamberlain is a poignant example of a confidence player. Much in the same way that Daniel Sturridge did following his move from Chelsea, he needs that arm of assurance around him to really shine.

That’s clearly not helped by social media platforms such as Twitter where fans often express their very raw emotions in the aftermath of frustrating results. Branded a ‘waste of money’ and ‘unworthy of the shirt’, such remarks will only see Chamberlain’s confidence remain shattered. Of course, such reactionary comments are part of being a footballer in this day and age, but giving him the backing of the Anfield faithful will be crucial in getting his Liverpool career off the ground.

There’s plenty of evidence to that’ll be the case, too. Take Adam Lallana, for example – before Klopp arrived he was unpredictable and erratic. Showing glimpses of class on the ball to turn beyond defenders and roam in between the lines, there was plenty of promise about the England international, but failure to deliver on a consistently high level always left fans wanting more.

Then came Klopp.

He’s turned Lallana into a hugely influential player within the Liverpool squad and a perfect earmark of what’s required in the current system. His positional play is better; his work-rate remains unrivalled and his end product has turned stern critics into admirers. A player not too dissimilar from Chamberlain himself, Lallana provides the perfect example of why Chamberlain can find his feet at Liverpool and fulfil his potential.

It remains very, very early days in Chamberlain’s Liverpool career and with Klopp’s track record in getting the best out of previously underperforming players, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Ox be a success on Merseyside.

As Take That once sang, just have a little patience…

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  1. Comparing Lallana and Oxlade Chamberlain is a massive reach. When Lallana joined us, he was captain of Southampton team that had done very well in the league and he was a major part of that. He had obvious qualities on the ball and his statistics from last season and his last season as a Southampton player are very similar. Under Rodgers, Lallana was often shunted out to the right wing which affected his play but the qualities were always there. The move to central midfield just gave him a chance to showcase those. The problem with Ox is his qualities. Like Thierry Henry said, nobody really knows what Ox is good at. He doesn’t have that one skill that stands out. He wasn’t the best player at Arsenal, Lallana on the other hand was the best at Southampton. His strengths are no better than a Stewart Downing, or a Jordan Ibe as evidenced by his 9 goals and 14 assists over the last 6 PL seasons (7 of which came last season playing RWB, and having Giroud the target man in the box). By comparison Lallana had 12 goals and 10 assists in his two PL campaigns before joining us.

  2. Naive to compare Ox to Lallana. The issue I have with this piece is that you are looking at the Ox as a football player. He was not purchased because he is a footballer player – he is just a Moneyball investment for FSG which I have been saying all summer to anybody who will listen. His short contract at Arsenal which remained guaranteed a profit for FSG when he signed up for 5 years. If the £40m were to be spent for football reasons, William Carvalho would have made more sense because he would have added balance to this naive midfield. Oxlade is a typical English midfielder – too much time in the gym and not enough time studying the game. Nice pecs, shame about the stats – 132 games, 9 goals in the Prem. This guy will be a flop – then there will be a slight improvement and people will say “He answered his critics.” Just like Emre, Hendo and Moreno who now thinks he’s Roberto Carlos because he has not been appalling in every minute of every game. The Ox is average, and that is being kind. £40m on him was a joke. It is an FSG signing, not a Klopp signing. No question.

  3. PS Being at the club “a matter of weeks” is irrelevant – he has been in the Prem for six years. He should take no adjustment time – he is a 23 year old English player, not a 19 year old from Azerbaijan.

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