Jurgen Klopp has no doubt Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be a success for Liverpool after the England international’s full debut came in for criticism.
Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Liverpool from Arsenal on deadline day, having featured at Anfield in a 4-0 reverse for the Gunners.
Unfortunately for Klopp and his new recruit, Liverpool have failed to win in four games across all competitions since and the 24-year-old’s maiden start at Leicester City on Tuesday did not stop the rot, with the Reds dumped out of the EFL Cup with a 2-0 defeat.
Liverpool return to the King Power Stadium at the weekend and, responding to lukewarm reviews for Oxlade-Chamberlain, Klopp told reporters at his pre-match news conference that the player had been hampered by a calf complaint during midweek.
“That’s the world of football, it is quite quick with all that stuff. I’m not a aware of it [the criticism] but I can imagine,” he said.
“Ox had a few good really, really good situations and a few unlucky situations. I thought he did well in them moments where you could see he tried to adapt to the style of play and all that stuff.
“He had a little problem with his calf – it’s not an injury but a little problem – and we all have to get used to this and manage this a little bit better.
“It’s the first game from the start and nothing else. We lost, he didn’t make his best game in his life so then people probably ask what impact he can make. But I’m not in doubt about this.”
Words from the boss ahead of this weekend’s trip to Leicester…
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 21, 2017
Klopp’s sense of under-performance being blown out of proportion extends to his team as a whole, with a 5-0 thumping at Manchester City earlier this month having set the unexpected downturn in motion.
The former Borussia Dortmund boss believes the character of his squad should not be under scrutiny, citing comebacks to secure draws against Sevilla and Burnley in the past two home outings as examples of their fighting qualities.
“They’ve proved it already hundreds of times. It sounds like we have no points and we are completely the worst team in the league,” he said.
“Obviously we have problems and that is why we only have eight points and not 15, that is the situation. But we can make it more serious than it is or we can take it like it is.
“We still have work to do. That would be the same if we had 15 points, only it would feel different but it would be the same.
“Yes, we have the right character. Sometimes we react really well, sometimes we don’t react perfectly. That’s how it always is.”
Klopp added: “We can improve in each part of our game and character is nothing fixed. There’s nothing to say you cannot change your mentality; of course you can.
“If you take the right information from the things we did so far then it always helps. That’s what I try to help the players with – why should I be in doubt that we will already do it better on Saturday?”
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