Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could thrive in a false nine role for Liverpool if Jurgen Klopp decides against signing a new striker this summer but he would need to improve his fitness.
Liverpool signed Chamberlain from Arsenal for £35million in 2017 on Deadline Day and while he’s had a difficult time of things on Merseyside, he can still make the Gunners regret selling him without a fight.
The midfielder missed 113 days and 20 games through injury this season after he suffered a serious knee injury but his return to fitness at the end of the campaign is cause for optimism.
Klopp featured Chamberlain in a false-nine role that saw him score a well-taken goal at Turf Moor in May and while he only played 10 minutes in Roberto Firmino’s position, he showed he can be a success there.
Chamberlain must stay fit
Most supporters can see Chamberlain has a lot of talent but much like Naby Keita, injuries have played a major role in his lack of success at Anfield but if he can avoid any lengthy layoffs, he can be an important player for the Reds.
Everyone will remember how sensational he was in the build-up to the Champions League final in Kiev, with his thunderous goal against Man City the highlight of his season but a cruciate ligament rupture ruled him out for almost an entire year.
Since then, his best season was the 2019/20 campaign in which he was fit enough to make 43 appearances, including 30 in the Premier League on the way to winning the title on 99 points.
He scored 8 goals that season and his finishing ability is something that Klopp could make use of next season.
Chamberlain as a false nine – could it work?
Despite numerous injuries, the Englishman is still very quick and more than capable of stretching play while his boundless energy would let allow him to take on the defensive responsibilities of playing upfront for the Reds.
There would be very little loss to Liverpool’s ability to chase and harry teams if Roberto Firmino was dropped for Chamberlain and there would arguably be an increase in goals from that role.
There might be a loss of creativity but Mohamed Salah had a profound understanding in the 2017/18 season when all 8 of Chamberlain’s assists were for the Egyptian as he shouldered the creative responsibilities following Phil Coutinho’s move to Barcelona.