Jump directly to the content

News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services.

DREAM TEAM

Your Sun

A News UK Company
TOP
DIFFERENCE MAKER

Can the long-awaited return of Liverpool’s ‘hybrid’ man end 29 years of hurt?

The Ox is back and Liverpool have never needed him more

Nine games to go.

To actually have a title race with a quarter of the season left in the tank is something to cherish.

Man City, the all conquering defending champions, and Liverpool, the ambitious great pretenders.

Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are set to go head-to-head once more

News Group Newspapers Ltd
5
Old foes

And the Reds might have one last trick up their sleeve to give them the edge in the run in.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is the Premier League’s forgotten man, but his impact at Anfield in his debut season last term was memorable.

More brawn than brains, Oxlade-Chamberlain was the archetypal Jurgen Klopp player; a high intensity pressing machine with the lungs of, er, an Ox.

His horrific knee ligament injury against Roma at the end of April was heartbreaking timing for a number of reasons.

Devastating

REUTERS
5
Devastating

Not only was the Ox playing the best football of his career, an England World Cup squad berth seemed a certainty.

This season Liverpool have launched their most considered and genuine title challenge for nearly three decades.

Even when they came so agonisingly close in 2014 they really had no right to be in the race, winning 13 games on the spin from mid February to become an unlikely contender.

All action

REUTERS
5
All action

But there is a worry they are fading just as the season comes to the crunch.

Their famed front three are misfiring, with only Sadio Mane scoring more than once in their last seven games.

Much has been made of the trio’s form but the lack of firepower and goal contributions from midfield has been the main sticking point.

Naby Keita hasn’t settled as quickly as many predicted whilst Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho are all far more defensively wired.

Slow burner

Times Newspapers Ltd
5
Slow burner

Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino were relentless in 2017/18, but they were supercharged by the presence of either the Ox or Philippe Coutinho behind them.

With Ox sidelined and Coutinho now sunning himself up in Catalonia, there’s been a very distinct disconnection between attack and midfield.

Ox, if he can pick up where he left off last season, can be their hybrid; the third midfielder and fourth attacker in the Liverpool team to glue everything back together.

One of the most direct midfielders around, the 25-year-old’s ability from range adds another dimension which the Reds have sorely lacked.

Anfield hero

News Group Newspapers Ltd
5
Anfield hero

The Ox is a pocket rocket who packs a punch.

Few players have built such an instant rapport with the fans like he did last season too.

Liverpool will be hoping his infectious positivity gives his team-mates the shot in the arm they desperately need.


READ MORE:

View this post on Instagram

aT lEaSt THeIr kItS LoOk cOoL

A post shared by Dream Team (@dreamteamfc) on