Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was wearing an ice pack on his ankle after Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Genk, but the goalscorer insists it was only a knock.
The 26-year-old netted the second goal in the Reds’ third victory in Group E of the Champions League, which proved to be the winner.
It was his third goal in two games against Genk, and his fourth for Liverpool this season—only Sadio Mane (10) and Mohamed Salah (eight) have tallied more so far.
Given his relative lack of minutes—just 618, the third-fewest of Jurgen Klopp‘s regular midfielders—this is an impressive record, and there are signs he is returning to his pre-injury form.
There were fears on Tuesday night that Oxlade-Chamberlain had suffered another injury, however, as he was caught on the ankle, and after playing on and finding the back of the net, he was brought off on 74 minutes.
But speaking to BT Sport after the game, the No. 15 confirmed the ice pack strapped to him was just a precaution.
“It’s just a kick. Milly has them every day and gets on with it, so I’ve got no excuses,” he said.
“Just a kick, it caught me nicely. It’s a bit of a sore one but no, all good.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain has been consistent in assessing his performances so far this season despite the increasing quality, and this was no different after his seventh start.
He believes he is “not yet” back to his best, but acknowledged he is growing closer to the intensity levels required to be a regular starter in Klopp’s midfield.
“I feel like I’m getting better with every game, physically and how I feel I can keep trying to affect the game,” he said.
“But I think there’s more to come from me both defensively and being in the right positions, pressing with the right intensity.
“Milly was talking about the intensity that’s expected from us game after game, and it takes a little while to get that back.
“So I think I’ve still got a bit of improving to do there, but I think I’m getting better with that.
“And obviously it’s nice to be chipping in with the odd goal as well, it obviously helps for confidence and how you’re feeling.
“So no, I’m happy with how it’s gone, but tonight it was really important we just got three points to push on in the group a bit further.
“We managed to do that in the end. We had to defend well at times, and like Milly said [were] a bit sloppy at other times, but overall: three points, we’re happy with that.”
Given he was substituted with a quarter-hour to play in midweek, it will be interesting to see whether Klopp gives Oxlade-Chamberlain a major show of faith and retains him for the visit of Man City on Sunday.
Going for the jugular against Pep Guardiola’s side has worked in the past for the Reds, and Oxlade-Chamberlain would be the perfect option in that respect.