Liverpool travel to Craven Cottage on Sunday afternoon hoping to keep pressure at the top of the Premier League table with a win against lowly Fulham.
Jurgen Klopp’s side finished their Champions League group stages with a 1-1 draw against FC Midtjylland on Wednesday, where some of Liverpool’s youngsters came unstuck against the Danish side.
One man who didn’t travel to Denmark was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, although the English midfielder is now back in training after recovering from the knee injury that has kept him out for all of this season.
Klopp can hand the former Arsenal man some much-needed fitness by handing him a start on Sunday afternoon, with his pace and direct running from midfield also likely to cause Scott Parker’s side problems.
Whilst it is imperative that the Reds pick up all three points against the Cottagers, one eye will surely be on next Wednesday’s game against Tottenham Hotspur, which looks set to be a top-of-the-table clash.
Therefore, Klopp should consider rotating his squad in preparation for what will undoubtedly be a tough game against Jose Mourinho’s side, and that includes starting Oxlade-Chamberlain, who earns £120k per week at Liverpool, ahead of Diogo Jota in midfield.
The Portuguese international, who has been superb since joining from Wolves in the summer, produced a lacklustre performance in midweek and is perhaps in need of a rest if Klopp wants to see the best of him when they face Spurs at Anfield next Wednesday.
BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand is a big fan of the 27-year-old, as he was full of praise for the midfielder after his impressive performance in the Reds’ 4-1 win against Genk last year, saying:
“You get the feeling his teammates love him. You can tell Klopp loves him and he’s desperate to get him in the team somehow.
“He offers something totally different to the likes of Milner, Wijnaldum, Fabinho and Henderson. ‘He can dribble past people which is hard for a midfielder.”
Therefore, if the Englishman is fit to make an appearance against Fulham, we feel he should get the nod from Klopp, as his pace could cause Fulham’s midfield and defence a lot of problems, whilst also ensuring that whoever he replaces gets a rest ahead of the game against Jose Mourinho’s Spurs.