This summer’s transfer window was arguably busier than most, and one of the biggest transfer sagas in the Premier League involved Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s move away from Arsenal. The Ox eventually ended up at Liverpool on deadline day, but he attempted to force a transfer to the Gunners’ London rivals, Chelsea. The fee agreed came close to £40 million, which raised eyebrows, not just across England, but across Europe.
The Arsenal fans expressed their anger at Oxlade-Chamberlain’s attitude when trying to move away from the Emirates but this anger soon turned to humour as the English winger was on the end of a 5-0 thrashing against Manchester City in his first Liverpool match. Since that game, he has continued to struggle to embed into the Reds side. He then made a cameo appearance against Burnley where he only played 11 minutes before making his first start against Leicester City in the Carabao Cup. His performance against the Foxes was far from impressive, and he was the subject of thousands of tweets slating his lack of quality in that match.
However, it is important that he is given more time to produce the quality performances that Arsene Wenger got used to in North London. One of the requests he made when joining the Reds was that he wanted to play in the centre of midfield, a position which he began to master towards the end of his Arsenal career. This request hasn’t been met in the league games he has featured in so far, and while his central midfield performance was poor in the league cup, progress isn’t something that happens overnight. A consistent run of fixtures in the middle of the park is what the Ox needs to start turning his lacklustre showings into a man of the match performances.
One of the big differences between Arsenal and Liverpool is the difference in the styles of play as the Gunners look to control possession and slowly move up the pitch while Jurgen Klopp has set up his Liverpool side to press the opposition and attempt to attack devastatingly fast. With the pace of the English winger, he should fit into the Reds’ system much better, but that won’t happen instantly. With the strong partnership between Jordan Henderson and Emre Can, he will struggle to break into the middle of midfield unless one of the two stars are injured or suspended.
It might just be a matter of waiting for his time to come until he can slot into the centre midfield role but he can’t allow himself to become frustrated with a run of matches out on the wing. If anything, he needs to build his confidence and level of performance in this position before taking his chance in his preferred spot. One thing that is vital is that the Liverpool fans don’t run out of patience with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain if he doesn’t live up to the huge price tag in the early months of his Anfield career.