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Dublin: 14 °C Sunday 12 July, 2020

Oxlade-Chamberlain relieved to join Liverpool from Arsenal, says Klopp

The Reds’ manager believes the 24-year-old was pleased to leave the Emirates Stadium

 Klopp has backed Oxlade Chamberlain to be a success at Liverpool.
Klopp has backed Oxlade Chamberlain to be a success at Liverpool.

ALEX OXLADE CHAMBERLAIN’S move to Liverpool from Arsenal came as a relief to the midfielder, according to Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.

The England international joined the Anfield club on transfer deadline day for a reported initial fee of £35million.

Oxlade-Chamberlain’s final Arsenal appearance was in the 4-0 thrashing by Liverpool on Merseyside and claimed leaving the Emirates Stadium was the right step for his development.

Speaking ahead of his side’s EFL Cup match at Leicester City on Tuesday, in which Oxlade-Chamberlain made his first start for the club, Klopp says it made “complete sense” for the 24-year-old to join.

“A new start is, very often, kind of a relief,” he said. “You are in a situation in your old club – I don’t say it now for Alex especially but in general it’s like this – you are in a specific position and you accept it at some point and then it’s difficult to make the next step.

“I thought it made complete sense for Alex to change club, especially to come here. So far, I can see that he has settled in perfectly. He knew at least all of the England players and a few others and he’s a really nice lad so it is easy for him to settle in the team.

“He knows he played all the games for Arsenal from the beginning and now he’s coming here and sitting on the bench – it looks like it was not the best decision. But it’s about the long-term and we already can use him, that’s good, but we want to prepare him also, that’s all. It’s all good from this side at the moment.”

Klopp believes too much pressure was placed on Oxlade-Chamberlain’s shoulders after he joined Arsenal as a teenager in 2011, but he is confident he will become an important player for Liverpool.

“We play different to Arsenal, that’s clear. It doesn’t mean better or worse, it just means different,” he said.

Arsenal changed a lot since Oxlade is there, I’m sure they didn’t play always with three at the back and wing-backs and stuff like this. I played against Arsenal when Alex was in centre-mid, I played against Alex when he was on the wing, I played against Arsenal when he was wing-back. He played different positions and that is all highest quality; if you can play in the Premier League on different positions it says a lot about you.

“Probably, when Alex was 18 or 19 people thought he could be ‘the man’, like a lot of people think a lot of times pretty early. But, as I always say, you immediately put a rucksack on their back and that makes development not easy.

So, hide them as long as it makes sense and send them out as soon as possible. That’s the plan. But he is now the perfect age and still is able to make big steps. I thought he played in the last game like a Liverpool player: highest intensity, all good, was not fixed in a position, flexible, half-left, half-right, in the box.

“I saw already a lot of things and, at the end, he didn’t score a goal so probably a lot of people will say that’s not a proper Liverpool player. But I’m really happy to have him here and I hope he is also happy to be here.”

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