Jurgen Klopp is wary of placing too much pressure on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as he rebuilds his fitness, although he was boosted by Joe Gomez’s return to Liverpool training.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has been out of action with knee ligament damage since last season’s Champions League semi-final, first leg against Roma at Anfield.
The England international featured in an under-23 match against Derby County earlier this month but was withdrawn with a muscle injury after 40 minutes, having been expected to complete the first half.
Klopp says he now regrets talking up Oxlade-Chamberlain before that fixture as it increased expectations – and vowed he will not discuss the former Arsenal man again until he is fit.
“One of the biggest mistakes I made here was being so excited about having Ox back,” he told a news conference on Friday.
“It’s not because it’s not exciting to have Ox back – it’s very exciting – but the spotlight on the game against Derby, the U23 game, was pretty rare.
— Alex Ox-Chamberlain (@Alex_OxChambo) February 18, 2019
“I am pretty sure Ox felt [the issue] a little bit after the last session with us, then he played the game and felt a little bit more. And everybody was looking.
“Now we will keep him a little bit in the shadows. He’s in a good moment, he will train and, when he is back and he is ready, properly ready, I will inform you. Until then, I will not speak about Ox.”
Liverpool can at least rejoice in Gomez’s progression, with the England defender back in training after suffering a leg fracture in the December win over Burnley.
“Joe is back after 15 weeks – what a long time,” Klopp said. “He looked really good, but it’s early stages. He’s now adapting again to proper football training after having thousands of rehab sessions.”
Klopp confirmed that Xherdan Shaqiri, previously struggling with a groin problem, and Trent Alexander-Arnold, who did not play for England in the international break, have also trained ahead of Sunday’s game with Tottenham.
“I think it’s pretty much the first time everybody came back healthy. That’s good,” Klopp said.
“We had everyone together. The Brazilians obviously came a bit later – Bobby [Firmino] and Ali [Alisson] – and did a bit less, but it was still a good session on Thursday. [We have] another Friday, another Saturday.
“It’s three sessions and I don’t think Tottenham have had more. That’s the situation. Now let’s play the game.”
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