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Henderson: Ox's return to training gives everyone a boost

The old adage "like a new signing" has been trotted out by many a manager over the years when describing a player returning from a long term injury.

In the case of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, it could be just the boost the squad needs as we enter the crucial period of the title run-in.

The English international joined in several sessions with his teammates at Liverpool's training camp at Marbella last week as well as in the build-up to the last 16 first leg clash against Bayern Munich.

Oxlade-Chamberlain suffered the cruelest of blows when arguably in the form of his career last April, when he sustained multiple ligament damage to his knee in the first leg of the semi final Champions League clash against Roma.

Not only did it cost him the chance of playing in a Champions League final for the Reds, but also the opportunity to play in a World Cup as he was a near on certainly to be picked in Gareth Southgate's 23-man squad.

The rehabilitation has been long and gruelling and no doubt the thought of 'why me, why now' has crossed the mind of the 25 year-old.

But to the midfielder's great credit, he has got on with the job.

 

Initially it was thought that he would miss the whole season, Oxlade-Chamberlain is a fair chance to make a few appearances before the season has concluded. Sadly this Sunday's massive game at Old Trafford comes to soon for the former Arsenal man. The Premier League football betting markets have this game as too close to call, and having Ox to call on would have been a huge boost to the Reds.

 

Just having him back on the training field has given the entire squad a lift though according to skipper Jordan Henderson. Speaking to the Official site,  Henderson said that the return to the training pitch by 'the Ox' had given everyone a real boost.

"It was obviously a massive moment for everyone but [especially] for him to be back from a bad injury. 

"He has been out for a while now and I’m sure he’s been thinking about that moment for a long time.

“It was great to have him back. He is a great character around the lads and he is obviously a fantastic player, so to have him back within the squad was a big plus for us.

"Hopefully over the next few weeks he can keep progressing and build his fitness up. 

"Who knows, hopefully he can get some minutes before the end of the season – that would be a huge boost for the team.”

It was a sluggish start to Oxlade-Chamberlains' Liverpool career, made harder by the fact that he joined close to the August transfer deadline.

Therefore he did not yet have the camaraderie and general feel for the game plan that a player would normally have when doing a pre-season with their new team.

However, when he clicked into gear, Oxlade Chamberlain gave the team a dynamic edge from midfield with his boundless energy and creative mind and his ability to produce in the big games.

 

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While this season has been such a impressive one in many ways, Ox's absence has certainly been felt at times.

Henderson said Jurgen Klopp will take a 'softly, softly' approach with Oxlade-Chamberlain that gives him the opportunity to show his very best form.

"The manager will be [careful] – he is with players who have been out for a long time, he knows how difficult it is to come back.

"But Ox has looked good in training and I’m sure over the next few weeks, as he builds fitness, the manager will keep a close eye on him because he is an important player, a fantastic player for this team.

As Liverpool fans, we greatly look forward to the Number 21 returning to competitive action in the near future.

 

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