Jurgen Klopp has urged Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to continue working on his game after an impressive showing against Atletico Madrid in midweek.
Now 28, Oxlade-Chamberlain has benefited from a minor injury crisis in Liverpool's midfield to enjoy a consistent run of games in the starting lineup for the first time since the end of the 2019/20 season, before he suffered a nasty knee injury.
Speaking after the Atletico game, Klopp admitted to being impressed with Oxlade-Chamberlain but encouraged the midfielder to add a little more to his game.
“I thought it was a really good game, he played a really good game against Atletico – very mature,” Klopp said (via The Independent).
“He had his Oxlade-Chamberlain moments, going with the ball and all that kind of stuff. But we need Mr Oxlade-Chamberlain as well, the mature one, the calm one, the closing one and all these kinds of things.
“It was a really good game. We had a proper talk before the game about that, what we expect and stuff like this. He fulfilled the role really well, I was really happy for him. And that’s how you get rhythm then. If you play like this, it will not last too long until you play again and all these kinds of things. That’s how it is.
“That’s needed [both sides to his game] and Oxlade has that. The problem is when you don’t play for a long time and you are constantly in the situation that you think you have to convince people; then it’s probably more the speed-ups and stuff like this.
“Speed-ups, they are brilliant but there is not always a space there for that. That’s why I was so happy for him that he really could mix it up.
“Of course, we need both and we have usually both, but when he didn’t play for a long time then it’s like this, you try to overachieve pretty much in a game, it was then a bit the case. It was now really, in a very positive way, a relaxed performance but extremely helpful for the team.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain has profited from injuries to James Milner, Naby Keita, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and Harvey Elliott in recent weeks to force his way back into the team, and he's likely to keep his spot as only Fabinho and Thiago are back and available for Liverpool.
Klopp provided a positive update on Elliott's nasty ankle injury on Friday, revealing the youngster is feeling good during his recovery.