Worry over Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's nightmare start at Liverpool

Worry over Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's nightmare start at Liverpool
From ESPN - October 9, 2017

Not every big signing can hit the ground running like Mohammed Salah has done at Liverpool. Despite doubts about his finishing, with six goals by the end of September and a consistent attacking threat, the Egyptian is one of the standout performers for the Reds thus far.

For their other major signing, 40 million man Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, it has been a different story.

It's always difficult for any player that moves during the final days of the transfer window. They have spent the summer training with another manager and squad -- then have to swiftly come to terms with a new environment.

The bigger the fee the less likely fans will take that upheaval into account. It would be unfair to assess the former Arsenal man on his recent, negligible contribution to both club and country but it would also be blinkered to deny there are not concerns.

These may be the mere fruition of doubts which existed from day one. It was frustrating that Liverpool paid so much money for a player in the final year of his contract, as normally that's a chance to pick up a bargain.

Oxlade-Chamberlain had rarely set the football world alight and was known for playing in positions where Liverpool already seemed strong.

Jurgen Klopp has chosen to start him in one match so far; the almost meaningless Carabao Cup defeat at Leicester --and he was poor.It felt like a training game for Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian was withdrawn at half time and any hope of Liverpool winning went with him.

He subsequently scored three superb goals in three games, boosting the club's fragile mentality and signalling renewed hope of future improvement.

For Oxlade-Chamberlain the reverse was true. He went straight back to the bench and has only appeared briefly since.

Even the international break could not bring respite. Chosen for England against Slovenia, he was ignominiously hauled off after an hour and was not even seen in the Sunday follow-up in Lithuania.

The comparison with Liverpool's other new boy was stark. Salah has almost singlehandedly dragged Egypt into their first World Cup finals for 28 years, scoring twice against Congo and cementing his position as a national hero.

If you thought things could not be any worse for Oxlade-Chamberlain, think again. Few Liverpool fans were impressed by the player's final outing for Arsenal, particularly since they had a ringside seat for the Reds' 4-0 thrashing of the Londoners in August.

Since that day, Liverpool have stumbled somewhat while results for his former club -- thought to already be done and dusted for season 2017-18 -- perked up considerably. Only a fool could think the situations were connected but if it should continue throughout October more malicious voices will make themselves heard.

As if everything was not going against the player already, the initial reaction to the move was mainly one of concern that Liverpool had not used his transfer money to strengthen the one area that needed it -- defence.


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