Klopp insists The Ox doesn't lack belief

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain preparing to deliver a cross in the Premier League game against Burnley after coming on as a substitute for Roberto Firmino.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain preparing to deliver a cross in the Premier League game against Burnley after coming on as a substitute for Roberto Firmino.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has claimed that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's move from Arsenal came as "a kind of relief" to the England international.

The 24-year-old spent six years at Arsenal where Gunners manager Arsene Wenger cited a lack of self-belief as one of the reasons the midfielder struggled to establish himself at the Emirates Stadium.

Klopp, however, believes there are no confidence issues with his new signing and that a fresh start with Liverpool will enable "The Ox" to make the next step in his development.

The German said: "It would be strange for me to say it after two-and-a-half weeks when Arsene Wenger said this after working with him for six years.

"But a new start is very often a kind of relief, that's how it is. You are in a situation with your old club - and I don't say this about Alex specifically - and you accept it and it is difficult to make the next step.

"I thought it made complete sense for Alex to change clubs and to come here. So far I can't see that (he lacks self-belief). He has settled in perfectly. He knows the situation.

"We want to use him and to prepare him also. It is all good from this side at the moment."

Oxlade-Chamberlain said the opportunity to develop under Klopp was a key factor in his decision to leave a more lucrative contract at Arsenal unsigned and join Liverpool. And his new manager admits the player can still make "big steps" in his game.

Klopp added: "I played against Arsenal when Alex was in centre-mid, when he was on the wing and when he was wingback. It is the highest quality if you can play in different positions in the Premier League. That says a lot about you.

"The judgment from outside may be that you don't develop but playing different positions is development. He's at a perfect age and is still able to make big steps.

"I thought he played the last game like a Liverpool player - highest intensity, not fixed on a position, flexible, in the box. I am really happy to have him here. I hope he is also happy to be here."

Klopp also said that he was happy with the players at his disposal at the moment but did not rule out signing reinforcements in January.

"From today's perspective, yes (it is good enough). We will see how it is in January," he said.

"I think the squad is wide enough to play in different competitions and to come as far as possible and that's the plan at the moment."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2017, with the headline 'Klopp insists The Ox doesn't lack belief'. Print Edition | Subscribe