All signs point towards Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain being set to play the 2021/22 season for Liverpool as a striker.
The Englishman played the second of the Reds’ short, 30-minute friendlies on Tuesday as he started in the no.9 role against Stuttgart.
The mini-game ended 1-1 as the Anfield outfit tested their fitness in Austria and while most of the focus was on big Ibrahima ‘Ibou’ Konate, supporters were excited to note the attacking role that Oxlade- Chamberlain played.
Klopp on Oxlade-Chamberlain as a No.9.
"You could see in the first few minutes, that’s an option, definitely. We will see how that goes on."#LFC
— Neil Jones (@neiljonesgoal) July 20, 2021
Within minutes of the start, the Englishman raced in behind and had Mohamed Salah not been wasteful, he would have immediately had an assist in his new role.
While it would be disappointing if Oxlade-Chamberlain is Liverpool’s alternative to signing a new forward this summer, there is no denying that he has what it takes to be a very good number nine.
Roberto Firmino excels in that role because he is able to link play with unbelievable ease as his technique and control allow him to suck defenders in, creating space for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, on the other, is a more natural striker when deployed in that role and he shouldn’t be expected to be anything like Bobby because he truly is one of a kind.
Speed is his greatest strength as we saw Stuggart were stretched by Oxlade-Chamberlain within minutes of the game kicking off. He’s a speed demon but he’s well-rounded.
The former Arsenal star can carry the ball very well, is an accurate passer, and while we have seen very little of it, his finishing is very good.
As I already said, if the Ox isn’t the only backup that Firmino has going into the 2021/21 season, he is a good option but he’s not good enough to carry the Reds’ attack if the Brazilian misses several games through injury.
Or, if like last season, he struggles for form, it’s a big ask to expect Oxlade-Chamberlain to be Liverpool’s primary striker.
Liverpool fans were pleasantly surprised with the way that the former Gunner performed on Tuesday but it will be interesting to see how he performs against Premier League opposition in that role.
That said, he did get a goal against Burnley in the no.9 role last season.
Liverpool fans react to Oxlade-Chamberlain
I’m all for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain being our backup “False 9”.
Has the pace and intelligence to do so.
Falls deep, then advances play really well.
— 𝑾𝒊𝒍𝒄𝒐🧣 (@KIopptinho) July 20, 2021
I think Alex oxlade chamberlain can become one of the best strikers in the league if he is fully fit.
— . (@kingkongkabak) July 21, 2021
Not gonna lie, Oxlade Chamberlain looks pretty sharp there playing upfront as our no 9.
— Jimmyinho (@faiqnadzmi) July 20, 2021
He joined the Reds from Arsenal for a fee reported to be worth £40million and this season could be a watershed campaign if he can avoid injuries.