It has taken Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain just twenty Premier League appearances for Liverpool, only eight of them being starts, to score more goals in a single season than he ever managed during his six full campaigns with Arsenal – and that upturn in goalscoring form is no fleeting coincidence.
It’s amazing the difference a move can make, but especially when a young player is switching from a team stuck on a downward trajectory to one with the bravery to go toe-to-toe with arguably the best side in Europe this season, Manchester City, and especially when they’re changing roles in the process.
Arsene Wenger only ever found consistent use for the 30-cap England international when playing him at wing-back, but Jurgen Klopp has placed Oxlade-Chamberlain back in an offensive-minded midfield role – something Wenger only ever really attempted in short bursts – and the results so far have been impressive.
And no performance has epitomised that transformation better than what the midfielder produced on Sunday as Klopp’s side became the first team to beat the Citizens in the Premier League this season, Oxlade-Chamberlains’ explosive dynamism and potent output being at the heart of an emphatic 4-3 win at Anfield.
In fact, it was Oxlade-Chamberlain who started the goalfest with an early strike from midfield, surging on from the middle of the park to power a low driving shot beyond a flailing Ederson. But as Liverpool ramped up the intensity, the former Arsenal man turned provider – setting up Roberto Firmino for the Reds’ second with a cute through pass into the Brazilian’s path.
Also creating the joint-most chances and completing the most dribbles of any Liverpool player, Oxlade-Chamberlain’s performance will have delighted Reds fans but left Gunners supporters asking some serious questions of Wenger. The Gunners look set to lose Alexis Sanchez and based on current form, the 5 foot 11 Liverpool signing could have played a key role in helping fill the Chilean’s void if he were still in north London. In any case, Arsenal have surrendered a young, talented player who has already emerged as an important component of his new team to a direct divisional rival.
But was Oxlade-Chamberlain Liverpool’s best player vs City? Let us know by giving each Liverpool player who starred on Sunday a performance rating out of ten…