Liverpool are likely to offload several players this summer in a bid to balance the books after the signings of Darwin Núñez, Calvin Ramsay and Fábio Carvalho.
Many of the fringe players could be sold in order to bring in some much needed money. This group of players consists of the likes of Takumi Minamino, Nat Phillips, Neco Williams and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
And yet recent reports suggest that the latter from that list of names may not actually be going anywhere. According to The Mirror, Liverpool and Jürgen Klopp value Oxlade-Chamberlain and want to keep him at the club ahead of next season.
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Supposedly, Klopp was impressed by how Oxlade-Chamberlain influenced games earlier in the season when Naby Keïta was away at AFCON in January, and it’s those performances that has convinced the manager he has a future at the club. Oxlade-Chamberlain made 28 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool last season, scoring three goals and providing three assists.
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s contract expires in a year’s time, and if Liverpool don’t sell him this summer, then there is every chance that he will leave for free next summer. However, he could also sign an extension, and allow Liverpool to perhaps sell him in a year or two.
Yet the odd thing about this news is that after the FA Cup quarter-final against Nottingham Forest, Klopp didn’t hand Oxlade-Chamberlain a single minute in the final two months of the season. Even Minamino and Divock Origi featured more towards the end of the season than the English midfielder.
It seems quite bizarre that Klopp would now want to hold on to Oxlade-Chamberlain, especially considering that his contract is due to expire in the next 12 months. Surely the time to be trying to sell him is now.
Oxlade-Chamberlain did produce some decent displays when utilised on the right-hand side of Liverpool’s attack, with the game against Crystal Palace in late January a notable standout performance. But for the most part, Oxlade-Chamberlain failed to make the most of the chances presented to him throughout 2021/22.
He made nine starts in the league, and his performances in midfield weren’t ones that would live long in the memory. Of course, it’s important to keep squad depth next season, especially considering that Liverpool will be fighting for four competitions again, but it remains to be seen just how much game time he will receive in 2022/23. Oxlade-Chamberlain made the same amount of starts as James Milner, despite Milner being seven years older.
But Oxlade-Chamberlain could prove useful in the early rounds of the domestic cup competitions, just like Minamino and Origi did last season, and this could be his function going forward, although it remains to be seen if Oxlade-Chamberlain would be happy with such a role.
In all, it seems an odd choice for Liverpool to keep Oxlade-Chamberlain. The club should attempt to sell him, and put more faith in Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott, as they represent the future of the club. Even with Minamino leaving, there is Carvalho coming in: Klopp may have a soft spot for the former Arsenal man, but the time has come for a parting of the ways.
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