Liverpool signed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for £35m from Arsenal on deadline day of the summer transfer window ahead of the 2017/18 season.

If (social) media reactions are anything to go by, his arrival on Merseyside has been written off by some while others touted him as a ‘luxury signing’.

He would have barely found the route to Melwood on his own, or kicked a ball for Liverpool before he was adjudged a failure.

Even by modern standards of ‘instant gratification’ and the need for ‘quick results’, this is harsh.

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – Saturday, September 9, 2017: Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Every player signed by the club deserves to be given a proper run of games – a chance to prove his worth – before he is ridiculed or written off.

After all, criticism has to be based on performances on the pitch and not on the past in another club’s shirt.

I take a look at a few key reasons why fans need to be patient with the Ox and trust in Klopp’s vision on this instance.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND – Saturday, September 23, 2017: Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Pace, age and ambition

Oxlade-Chamberlain is a young and dynamic player whose best years are ahead of him; he is yet to reach his peak potential. At just 24 years old, he is undoubtedly talented and a full England international.

One cannot fault him on ambition either. He was offered a higher pay to sign a new contract with Arsenal but chose to come to Liverpool to play under Klopp.

Surprisingly enough, his talent and potential is something that eludes most people when it comes to judging Chamberlain.

A former Southampton academy product, the Ox is fast; the player’s pace and Liverpool’s style are ideally suited for each other.

The Reds have at times yearned for speed and dynamism thereof, on the pitch; the former Arsenal winger could be the answer to those worries.

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LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – Monday, September 25, 2017: Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade Chamberlain during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group E match against FC Spartak Moscow. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Squad strength

Liverpool’s pursuit and eventual purchase of the Englishman was viewed in many quarters as a ‘luxury signing’.

What most fans did not envisage is the lengthy absences of Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and later, Sadio Mané taking such a toll.

Chamberlain may not have had too many minutes under the belt; however, he certainly brings strength, experience and solidity to an otherwise depleted attack.

While his preferred position is central midfield, Klopp is an astute coach and deploys his players across multiple positions before nailing down a particular position.

This gives the gaffer flexibility – at least in the short term – to field Chamberlain either in his preferred position or as part of the front three of the 4-3-3.

It also provides the manager with reasonable squad depth, given the host of fixtures to be negotiated after the international break leading up to the New Year.

liverpool maribor champions league

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – Wednesday, November 1, 2017: Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Liverpool FC and NK Maribor at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Key precedents

It is true that the Ox’s best position has not been nailed down but the German at the club’s helm knows his job more than most of us.

If there is one thing he has proven beyond a doubt since taking charge at the club, it is his penchant for and aptitude at developing players.

Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah (both Klopp signings) are the best examples of how new signings have been seamlessly integrated into the Liverpool line-up, especially in attack.

The turnarounds in the form of Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho frequently hitting a higher level than he was at, is all down to the German and his coaching staff and skills.

These are key precedents for Chamberlain; if he shows the attitude and willingness to learn, there is nothing to stop him from becoming a regular feature of Klopp’s team.

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MARIBOR, SLOVENIA – Tuesday, October 17, 2017: Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scores the sixth goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between NK Maribor and Liverpool at the Stadion Ljudski vrt. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Glimpse of capability

NK Maribor were not the most potent of opponents when Liverpool went to Slovenia but as they say, you can only beat what is in front of you.

That game was Chamberlain’s first start for the Reds and he scored on debut.

His cameo appearance against Manchester United at Anfield was a definite positive as also thereafter versus Huddersfield.

The Ox was handed his first Premier League start against an admittedly struggling West Ham. He grabbed his chance with both hands and scored.

If things had gone according to plan, he should also have had an assist to his name on the night.

It is credit to Klopp that he has allowed Chamberlain time and breathing space while slowly easing him into the team. Fans have only had a glimpse of his abilities and so far, there is little to turn your nose up at.

LONDON, ENGLAND – Saturday, November 4, 2017: Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Verdict?

None whatsoever.

I only have an appeal to fellow fans and pundits to stop ridiculing and start watching the player turn out for Liverpool in the days to come.

There is plenty of time to go before the hammer comes down on a player who has just arrived from a rival club this summer.

Criticism of his performances are welcome, but writing off someone who has feature for just 800 minutes across all competitions so far for Liverpool is not.

About The Author

Freelance writer

Aspiring journalist and a Liverpool fan. Love travelling and exploring places. Foodie!

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