Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has identified Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as one of “four new players” he will be able to choose from next season.
The 25-year-old missed an entire year of action with a knee ligament injury sustained in April 2018.
He featured twice in the closing stages of the 2018-19 campaign and was an unused substitute in the Champions League final victory against Tottenham.
Last season also proved to be a frustrating one for Rhian Brewster, who like Oxlade-Chamberlain spent the campaign recovering from a long-term injury, while Adam Lallana and Joe Gomez struggled with problems of their own.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 6, 2019
But with a full pre-season programme scheduled for all four players, Klopp is expecting far more competition for places next term without having to splash the cash.
“If Ox can stay fit – new player for us,” he told Liverpool’s official website.
“Rhian the same – he is a really big talent. We’re really looking forward to seeing him in training and all that stuff. It will be an important role for us; we planned an important role for him. So, new player.
“Joe Gomez is pretty much a new player. Adam Lallana, new player. After a lot of problems last year, if these boys can really stay fit then that’s completely different to last year for the team because there is real quality. That’s cool.”
The majority of the European champions’ players reported back to Melwood on Saturday for the start of pre-season training.
Liverpool have seven friendly fixtures scheduled between now and their Community Shield showdown with Premier League champions Manchester City on August 4, starting with a trip to local rivals Tranmere Rovers on Thursday and Bradford City three days later.
New number who dis pic.twitter.com/3rYAxsKXr3
— Alex Ox-Chamberlain (@Alex_OxChambo) June 7, 2019
“Hopefully we can use the time to give these players the time because it’s been a while since they had competitive games,” Klopp said. “We start pretty intensely with Tranmere, who were promoted.
“After a few days’ training, playing that game against a League One team is a challenge. Then Bradford and then we really go for it.
“You play these games not only for doing something in these 90 minutes, you want to see a few things: improvement, desire and all that stuff.
“We have to be ready early. We start the league on Friday night against Norwich – we have to be ready and that’s not the only game we prepare for, of course.”
Liverpool have made only one signing during the close season, with Sepp van den Berg joining from PEC Zwolle in a deal that could be worth up to £4.4million.
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