This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Paul Merson said on Sky Sports’ The Debate show (22:12, Monday, 11th November) – via Live4Liverpool – that Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has a huge role to play for the Reds this season.
Former Arsenal player Merson, though, was full of praise for the England international. He said: “You could be Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in that team and not weaken it, no way, he is a phenomenal player as well.
“I think he plays a big part in this season because when they play against lesser teams, teams will just come and play with 10 behind the ball and make it hard.
“And if you look at the current midfield three, they don’t have much guile, they don’t have that eye of the needle, it’s okay when you play Man City who say you have a shot, we have a shot, but I think when facing the lesser teams, Oxlade-Chamberlain will become a big part of this football team.”
Had it not been for a series of injuries, including a cruciate ligament rupture in 2018, the former Gunner could already be a star player on Merseyside. However, he has had to make do with a bit-part role so far this term, having played just 630 minutes in all competitions.
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When he has been on the pitch, though, he has take advantage of his chances. He has four goals already which have come across seven starts, and he has impressed so much in the short amount of time he has spent on the field that he even picked up Liverpool’s Player of the Month for October.
Jordan Henderson, meanwhile, has not done too well so far this campaign. He has just one goal and one assist himself across his first 15 appearances of the season, with him averaging just 6.85 in the Premier League as per WhoScored. Oxlade-Chamberlain, meanwhile, has averaged 7.05 across the two league games in which he has been included in the starting XI, whilst that rating is at 8.44 in the Champions League.
The former Sunderland midfielder is not a unanimously popular figure amongst the European champions’ fans, and does not offer the same attacking threat as Oxlade-Chamberlain.
With the former Southampton man offering more danger offensively, it is perhaps worth Klopp giving him a chance to shine ahead of the 29-year-old.