Jurgen Klopp could transform 27-year-old into De Bruyne clone with simple tweak

Jurgen Klopp could transform Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with a simple tweak after a season that saw the Englishman drop out of contention entirely.

When Liverpool stormed their way to the 2017/18 Champions League final, Chamberlain was one of the Reds’ most important players and I think his involvement is often forgotten for several reasons.

Virgil van Dijk’s impact after signing in January that season and the incredible goalscoring form of Mohamed Salah stole the headlines that year. The Dutchman was immaculate at the heart of the defence and the Egyptian scored an insane 44 goals in all competitions.

Yet, Chamberlain’s dynamism, energy and presence in midfield were crucial as Liverpool blew Manchester City away in the quarter-finals, winning the tie 5-1 on aggregate.

His 25-yard strike had Anfield rocking in the first leg, taking Liverpool’s lead to 2-0 after Mohamed Salah opened the scoring.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – APRIL 04: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield on April 4, 2018 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Then, disaster struck against AS Roma as Chamberlain suffered an ACL rupture and had to undergo reconstruction surgery. He subsequently missed 316 days as a result.

The former Arsenal star hasn’t been the same player since and while his explosiveness seems to be returning, he’s been limited to cameos from the bench and was the subject of an approach from West Ham.

The Hammers are looking to capitalise on their form this season and believe the Liverpool star could be the man to help them push on next term.

I think, however, Jurgen Klopp should hold onto the Englishman and with a simple tweak, he could become an incredibly impactful player for the Reds again.

DOHA, QATAR – DECEMBER 21: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Liverpool at the end of the the FIFA Club World Cup final match between Liverpool FC and CR Flamengo at Khalifa International Stadium on December 21, 2019, in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

I’m under no illusions that Chamberlain is as talented as Kevin De Bruyne but in Liverpool’s system, where crossing from the wings is as valuable as it is, it makes sense that someone like the 27-year-old would flourish in a similar role to the one that the Manchester City star was deployed in until this season.

His blessed right foot was exploited by Pep Guardiola, with De Bruyne tasked with whipping the ball into the box as often as he could manage with a focus placed on playing the ball in as early as possible to catch opposition sides out before they were able to get set in a low block.

It’s something that Trent Alexander-Arnold has become famous for as well and with Jordan Henderson out injured, there’s space for some experimentation before the end of the season.

Klopp should deploy Chamberlain on the right-hand side of his midfield three where he can dovetail with Trent. It will require Mohamed Salah to play a narrower role but given how deadly the former AS Roma star is, the closer to goal he is the better.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 22: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain share a joke with Mohamed Salah during a Liverpool training session ahead of the Champions League group E match against KRC Genk at Melwood Training Ground on October 22, 2019, in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

From there, Chamberlain can be used to whip the ball into the box or when Trent bombs forward, he can play the auxiliary right-back role that Henderson would at times to allow the Scouser the freedom he needed to supply the front three with pinpoint crosses.

It’s an experiment that could pay huge dividends and if it provides Chamberlain with a way back into the starting XI after a punishing three year spell out of the side, it would be great to see him back fit and firing.

Michael Mongie
Football Central Media Group founder, owner and editor.

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