Klopp welcomes Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as “impressive” new option up front

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After coming off the bench to play as a striker in the 1-0 win at Wolves, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is considered a new option for Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp has explained.

Opportunities have been hard to come by for Oxlade-Chamberlain this season. In fact, the 27-year-old has only made two starts in all competitions.

He has largely been limited to substitute appearances, and only 10 of those at that, with his latest offering perhaps the most intriguing as he replaced Diogo Jota as Klopp’s striker against Wolves.

It was a surprise decision from the manager, with it being more orthodox to shift either Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane to the central role, and it opens up further possibilities down the line.

Asked about Oxlade-Chamberlain’s new position ahead of the trip to his former club Arsenal, Klopp explained that an earlier experiment, against West Ham in January, convinced him he could be an option as No. 9.

“He can do that. He did that against West Ham as well. West Ham away, he came on in the same position, did really well,” he said.

“It’s an option. Ox is obviously a versatile player, definitely more offensively orientated.

“And it’s a very offensive position for him, with the speed, with the technique, with the moves, the turns, he’s able to do the accelerations.

“It’s a good position. It was not only for that [moment], we knew before. He didn’t play [it] 500 times obviously, but we knew because of the West Ham game that it’s good for him.

“That’s why he came on and yes, he was impressive. It was good.”

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 13, 2021: Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looks dejected after Leicester City score the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City FC and Liverpool FC at the King Power Stadium. Leicester City won 3-1. (Pic by Propaganda)

It will be interesting to see whether Oxlade-Chamberlain is given increased game time in the final games of the season, but competition in the form of Jota and the returning Roberto Firmino may make it difficult.

But proving he is capable of operating up front may give him the edge as Klopp considers which of his squad options to cut at the end of the campaign.

Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri are expected to be made available in the summer transfer window, but Oxlade-Chamberlain has also been spoken of as a player who could be set for a departure.

To immediately claim the Englishman could now have a future as a backup striker would be farfetched, but Klopp has clearly seen something in his No. 15 to suggest it is worth trialling.

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