Wednesday 26 June 2019

John Aldridge: Why Jurgen Klopp may pick Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ahead of Sadio Mane against Arsenal

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain preparing to take on Arsenal for the first time since he left the club in August
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain preparing to take on Arsenal for the first time since he left the club in August
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Liverpool goalscoring great John Aldridge believes Reds boss Jurgen Klopp may be tempted to name Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in his team ahead and leave Sadio Mane on the bench for Friday night's game against Arsenal.

Oxlade-Chamberlain impressed as he started in Liverpool's 4-0 win against Bournemouth last weekend, with Sadio Mane left on the bench for the game at the Liberty Stadium.

Now Aldridge believes Klopp could stick with Oxlade-Chamberlain when Liverpool take on Arsenal at Emirates Stadium for a couple of key reasons.

"I have given up trying to guess Jurgen Klopp's teams as they are a surprise every week with his squad rotation policy, but I would not be surprised to see Oxlade-Chamberlain start at Arsenal," he told us.

"He will be so motivated against his former club and Mane has not been at his best this season and he has done when well when he has got his chance in the Liverpool team.

"There are also a few doubts over Mane's form this season. He is a fantastic player, but it looked like he had put his boots on the wrong feet against West Bromwich Albion last week and he may have been disrupted by the rotation policy Klopp has favoured this season."

Sadio Mane has not been a first pick for Jurgen Klopp at times this season. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Aldridge has voiced his concern at Klopp's rotation policy this season, as he suggestions medical experts at the club are putting pressure on the Liverpool boss to rest key players.

"This rotation policy is part and parcel of the modern game, but I would have hated it if I scored a hat-trick on the Saturday and was then told to sit on the bench for the next game because someone tells me I’m tired," he added.

"When you are playing one game, coming off the bench in another, sitting out the next and then thrown back into the team a week later, you don’t get the rhythm top players thrive on, but the sports scientists at clubs are in the ear of managers and warning them certain players are in the danger zone on injuries.

"I’m sure there will be more changes to the team at Arsenal as Klopp seems to be devoted to rotating his team on a regular basis, but that does add an element of the unknown into each game Liverpool play."

Read John Aldridge's column every week in the Sunday World.

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