Despite injuring his knee during the Champions League semi-final in April, Liverpool have only just released the extent of time that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be out for.
It is expected that he will miss the vast majority of the 2018/19 season after damaging his cruciate and medial ligaments as well as tendons in his hamstring. Although having successful surgery eight days after his injury, the rehabilitation period is expected to last a year.
This should not really come as a surprise to Liverpool fans as 12 months is the usual recovery period for an ACL injury. Klopp has also made signings which will cover Oxlade-Chamberlain’s absence, such as Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri.
Chamberlain may be a favourite amongst the fans but there shouldn’t be too many concerns that Liverpool will be unable to field a high-quality team without the Ox.
However, Oxlade-Chamberlain will have internal worries that missing a whole season may leave him at bottom of the Anfield pecking order.
Liverpool are currently one of the most ambitious teams in the Premier League, having reached the Champions League final last season and improving their squad over the summer to the tune of £170 million.
This upcoming season is crucial as Liverpool may start to define what kind of club they will be in years to come. That will start with a proper challenge for the Premier League title and another successful Champions League campaign.
If they are successful in this, Liverpool will become an even more attractive team for players around the world.
Can Oxlade-Chamberlain make a full recovery?
This would leave Oxlade Chamberlain in a difficult position when he returns in a year’s time. It is not guaranteed that he would come back as the player he was before.
ACL injuries have ravaged sparkling careers throughout football. Radamel Falcao is an example in point, as is Michael Owen, who never got back to his best after tearing his ACL at the 2006 World Cup. The Ox will have to make sure he is fully fit before getting back on the pitch, or risk having a recurring issue.
Once back, it would be doubtful that he would get an immediate starting place in what should be an improved Liverpool side unless Klopp’s plan goes wrong and his stars don’t perform.
Oxlade Chamberlain would have to improve his form by slowly working his way back into the team. If Liverpool were flying high at the time though, they might not be able to afford to give Oxlade Chamberlain the time on the pitch and patience that would be necessary for him to make an effective return.
Klopp may see a solution to this through a loan spell to a smaller team where the Ox would receive regular playing time.
Having impressed at Liverpool during his 32 appearances for the Reds, he will be more than disappointed to be missing a whole season of football. However, he must ensure he is savvy with his comeback or risk falling too far behind in a club that is moving forward at a rapid pace.
Do you envisage Chamberlain making a full recovery? Let us know in the comments below.