Liverpool star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain appeared to suffer a setback on his return from long-term injury when he pulled up with a muscle problem in an Under-23s game on Friday
The 25-year-old England international had surgery on a cruciate ligament injury in his right knee suffered in last season’s Champions League semi-final against Roma and missed the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was taken off after 40 minutes of the match against Derby U23s on Friday as a precautionary measure and Liverpool immediately assessed the muscle injury.
Klopp has now issued an update on the progress of the former Arsenal playmaker, insisting that Oxlade-Chamberlain is indeed fine despite the scare.
He told Liverpool’s website: “It’s not really surprising, it’s normal. The good news is the knee is perfect – nothing happened, that was our only concern.
“Football games are different to football training, that’s why he felt the muscle a little bit, and thank God we were smart enough to take him off, even if it was only five minutes earlier than we thought [before the game]. That made absolute sense. Nothing else happened.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain was making his first appearance in a competitive match in 11 months having suffered 318 days of injury hell – and Klopp admits the player needs time.
“We always said he needs time. Maybe I’m a bit guilty for being too excited about it; if nobody asked me I wouldn’t start talking about Ox, to be honest, but they ask me and I say the truth – and the truth was it looked so exciting in training. But it’s only small-sided games, shooting situations and all that.
“It’s Ox, we all know and love him, that’s cool, but, at the end of the day, we all need to make sure we are ready for the big-size pitch. And for this he just needs time. It’s all good.”