Liverpool have confirmed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could miss ‘the vast majority’ of the season due to ligament damage suffered against AS Roma in April’s Champions League clash. The English international had successful surgery, but his rehabilitation will take some time.
Liverpool were keen to stress that Oxlade-Chamberlain’s return date hasn’t changed, the information was just withheld until after last season, to not detract from the Reds’ Champions League run to the final and subsequent positive summer.
Manager Jurgen Klopp admitted it would “be a bonus” if Oxlade-Chamberlain returned before the end of the season, saying: “It feels like now is an appropriate time to tell people that for Ox this coming season will be about focusing on recovery and rehab.
“We have known this from pretty much the day after he got the injury and after the successful surgery, we were sure of it. I hope everyone treats this information responsibly. There has been no change, no setback – it’s exactly on the schedule we expected and planned for.
Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Liverpool from Arsenal in 2017 and has gone on to make 42 appearances in all competitions. After a slow start to life at Anfield, the 32-cap midfielder soon proved his worth and played a big part in the Reds making it to the Champions League final in Kyiv last season.
However, he missed out in the final against Real Madrid and unsurprisingly failed to make England’s squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia due to his injury. Klopp reiterated that the latest revelation is news to everyone outside of the club, but Liverpool were aware at the time how long his recovery would take.
“The new information is that we’re now giving more detail publicly. It is typical of Ox that he didn’t want the news to overshadow the end of the season and, to be quite honest, we thought we could wait and tell people at an appropriate time.
“His surgery – which he had on the day of our second leg in Roma – has been completely successful and his recovery has started superbly well. But the truth of the matter is that we are preparing this season knowing he will not be with us on the pitch for competitive matches for the majority of it. If we do see him back this season it will be a bonus.”
Fans will hope to see the midfielder return before the end of the 2018/19, but he won’t be rushed if he isn’t ready.