Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain seemed like he never left the football pitch, starring in a victory for Liverpool away to Genk in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday. Oxlade-Chamberlain suffered a severe knee injury which kept him out of the whole of last season.
Playing his first Champions League match in 18 months, Chamberlain scored within the first two minutes of the match as Liverpool imposed on their seemingly lesser opponents early in the match.
It remained the only goal in the first half as the former Arsenal man came back scored again in the second half, in a more splendid manner. In the 57th minute, Chamberlain’s shot off the outside went into the goal after hitting the underside of the crossbar.
Video of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goal against Genk:
Speaking after the match, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was happy for the 26-year old’s return, but also said that he could have been better.
“It was absolutely a great moment for him, but I would say with Ox his performance was exactly the same as the performance of the team – the goals were great but all the rest could have been better,” Klopp was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
The match also saw two more goals scored towards the end by Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, but the story of the match was definitely Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Many former players also heaped praise for his performance on comeback.
Chamberlain’s former teammate at Arsenal Robin van Persie told Liverpool Echo: ”I used to play with him at Arsenal. I saw that in him. He was one of those who had the potential to be a top player. If he can keep doing that, he can still be a top player.”
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, talking on BT sport, also had a few good words for Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“The second goal is undoubtedly the better of the two but what I like is the way that he gets into these positions,” Ferdinand said. “Once he gets into these pockets – James Milner mentioned it – in behind the opposition’s midfield, he can dribble, he can turn, he can shoot and face.”
“It’s a great position. It’s a bad place for the opposition midfielders or centre-halves because they can’t go out and meet him, he turns, he can shoot, he can pass, he has the options, he can dribble.”
“He’s a fantastic footballer. It’s all about decision making [for the goal] and it’s a great strike.”