Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain believes that for him to be a game-changer for Liverpool he needs to build rhythm with more game time, after shining against Atletico Madrid.
The No. 15 was perhaps a surprise starter for the Champions League clash with Atletico at Anfield, but with Curtis Jones ruled out and Thiago not ready for 90 minutes, he was called upon.
Lining up alongside Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain took up an unfamiliar left-sided role in the midfield three, against a demanding opponent.
But on his first Champions League start since the 3-2 loss to Atletico in 2020, the Englishman excelled, with no Liverpool player completing more dribbles (five), tackles (three) or interceptions (two).
Given it came on the back of a difficult substitute appearance against Brighton at the weekend, there was a sense of pride as Oxlade-Chamberlain stood up to the test.
Speaking to LFCTV after the win, he implied that he was still finding his feet after a long spell on the periphery, with his ability to “do risky things” only working with rhythm.
“A player like me, that sometimes tries to do risky things, run with the ball, drive with the ball, obviously rhythm helps that,” Oxlade-Chamberlain said.
“Rhythm helps all players of course, but especially I think for me, the way I play, with game time and with more games, it sort of becomes a bit more natural and I don’t have to think about these things as much.
“I think it’s getting better, but of course, the manager at the minute has a few injuries in midfield.
“Hopefully soon we’ll have everyone back and then the competition starts.
“But you know, as long as I can be absolutely ready, be able to perform well if needed, I need to make sure I’m doing that.
“I think games help and I felt better tonight, but I can definitely improve even more for sure.”
With Fabinho playing an hour and Thiago coming off the bench for 30 minutes, there is a chance they will line up in midfield with Jordan Henderson for this weekend’s clash with West Ham.
But after clocking 238 minutes over the past eight days and improving as he went, Oxlade-Chamberlain could present a strong case to make consecutive starts for the first time since July 2020.
The midfielder has impressed against West Ham in the past, with two goals and an assist in his five meetings with the Hammers since joining the Reds.
He could well be the game-changer Klopp needs in east London.