Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ruled out for the season
Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been ruled out for the season with manager Jurgen Klopp admitting it will be a "bonus" if he plays any competitive minutes in the upcoming campaign.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, 24, sustained multiple knee ligament damage during the win over Roma in April that saw his knee give away under a challenge from Aleksandar Kolarov.
He was immediately ruled out of the Champions League final and the World Cup, but no further detail was given.
However Klopp has now revealed that the club and player knew of the injury's severity straight away but at the player's request the information was withheld from the public as Oxlade-Chamberlain didn't want the news to disrupt his club and international team-mates.
Now the club have decided to come forward ahead of the new season to avoid any further speculation as to his status, also revealing that Oxlade-Chamberlain had surgery shortly after he suffered the injury initially.
"It feels like now is an appropriate time to tell people that for Ox this coming season will be about focusing on recovery and rehab,” Klopp said.
Liverpool's English midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is stretchered off the pitch during the UEFA Champions League first leg semi-final football match between Liverpool and Roma at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north west England on April 24, 2018Getty Images
“We have known this from pretty much the day after he got the injury and after the successful surgery, we were sure of it. I hope everyone treats this information responsibly. There has been no change, no setback – it’s exactly on the schedule we expected and planned for. The new information is that we’re now giving more detail publicly.
" It is typical of Ox that he didn’t want the news to overshadow the end of the season and, to be quite honest, we thought we could wait and tell people at an appropriate time."
“His surgery – which he had on the day of our second leg in Roma – has been completely successful and his recovery has started superbly well.
" But the truth of the matter is that we are preparing this season knowing he will not be with us on the pitch for competitive matches for the majority of it. If we do see him back this season it will be a bonus."
Liverpool have strengthened their midfield options with Naby Keita and Fabinho both joining in the off-season.
Klopp added that Oxlade-Chamberlain agreed with the club's approach to his recovery.
“It is so important – because of how valuable and important he is to what we are looking to do here in the coming seasons – that the focus is on doing this right and not rushed. Ox is completely on board with this approach," said Klopp.
“He is such an outstandingly good person and someone who even when not playing is integral to the heartbeat of Melwood.
“I cannot wait to have him back with us for matches, but we will wait for him and we will show the patience that is required to make sure he comes back ready to continue where he left off: as one of the most outstanding performers in European football in that moment.”