The England international has only started two games for the Reds this season, but Klopp says that is down to the team’s defensive issues
Jurgen Klopp insists Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain still has a future at Liverpool, and has explained why he expects the midfielder to play a bigger role at Anfield next season.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has found opportunities hard to come by in this campaign, featuring only 14 times in all competitions for the Reds, and making only two starts. It has led, naturally, to suggestions the 27-year-old, who arrived on Merseyside from Arsenal 2017, may look to move clubs in the summer.
Klopp, though, says that is unlikely, and has outlined the reasons why Oxlade-Chamberlain has not featured as much as he would have liked this season.
What’s been said?
Klopp told reporters: “The summer is important for all of us, and for Ox it’s exactly the same.
“When you don’t start games, then you have to use each training session and each minute on the pitch in a game to convince. I don’t have to be convinced, to be honest, but it’s about showing up in these kind of situations.
“Oxlade had really good moments. He trains really well. These situations are not easy; for Naby [Keita] it is not easy, for Shaq [Xherdan Shaqiri] it is not easy, for some other players as well. I know that.
“But during the season, a lot of things happened. The one thing we tried to get, and when we got it we tried to keep it, was balance and rhythm, stability. That means that you don’t change these positions too often. That’s it, pretty much.
“With always having a different defence, the midfield needed to be different to other times, when we were much more settled, much more stable. That’s the reason why some players don’t have enough minutes.
“That will hopefully change completely next season because if you have that stability in the last line, then you can be more flexible in the formation, further up the pitch.”
Asked if he was still counting on Oxlade-Chamberlain for next season, and if his faith in the former Arsenal man had ever wavered, Klopp smiled: “Yes, and no!”
‘We will see the best of Thiago’
Klopp was also asked about another midfielder, Thiago Alcantara, who has endured a testing first season in the Premier League following his move from Bayern Munich last September.
“Thiago, in a really difficult season, has become a very important player for us,” he said. “That is the most important thing you can say about him.
“He started really well, then got a bad injury and an annoying one as well because it took really long [to heal] then he came back into the team that is not really clicking.
“As a football player, he works a lot and is a good, hard-working guy, but he comes rather from the technical side and was used to different patterns at Bayern Munich and all these kinds of things, so it is not a year where a new signing just shines, especially in midfield.
“For Diogo [Jota] it was a little easier in situations, even though he had an injury as well, because he finished chances and was not so much involved in creating.
“But creating is the moment where a lot of things have to come together and that is why it was difficult for Thiago.
“But we are completely happy with him. We will see the best of him. I don’t think we saw it already, but that is not a problem. We are 100 per cent convinced we will get the best out of him because he is a world-class player.”