With Liverpool’s round of sixteen Champions League showdown with German giants Bayern Munich looming just around the corner, earlier today the Reds submitted their squad for the knock-out stages and there is one name in particular included on the team sheet that caught the eye.
Ok, maybe there’s two names with the surprise addition of 17-year old Dutch defender Ki-Jana Hoever, but it was the inclusion of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain that really stirred up conversation. The midfielder, who has been out with a serious knee injury since last spring, is on the road to recovery and despite being ruled out for the season is expected to hit the pitch in some capacity for the Anfield outfit before the close of the campaign.
His bullish attitude and ability to drive at the defense has been missed as of late with Liverpool settling in to a bit of a slump — and giving up ground in the title race — following draws with Leicester City and West Ham United.
Having Chambo included in the Champions League squad doesn’t help us right now, but it is a bright spot in a week that’s thus far been filled with some less than positive news.
Club captain Jordan Henderson and midfield linchpin Georginio Wijnaldum both missed the draw with the Hammers last night through injury and there’s really no indication when they’ll be back. Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, speaking to the press following the final whistle, said the situation was “not cool” and refused to speculate whether they’d be fit enough to face AFC Bournemouth at the weekend.
To go from bad to worse, the club has confirmed that defender Joe Gomez, who was expected back late last month after fracturing his leg in the win over Burnley in December, has undergone surgery in an attempt to speed up his recovery.
The 21-year old, who established himself as the first choice partner for Virgil van Dijk with some impressive performances earlier in the season, has been plagued by injuries since joining the Reds under previous boss Brendan Rodgers and he aired his frustrations on social media yesterday.
Hopefully he’ll be back sooner rather than later.