Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain marked his first Premier League start for Liverpool with an important goal – and one he hopes can enhance his claims for a regular place in the XI.
The midfielder was deployed from the off against West Ham United on Saturday as Jürgen Klopp altered his formation with success at the London Stadium.
A 4-1 victory was secured – the Reds’ third in a row in all competitions – and it was their third strike of the night, from Oxlade-Chamberlain, that ensured Manuel Lanzini’s effort for the hosts could be nothing more than a consolation.
When the ball clattered the back of the Hammers net at the second attempt the No.21 set off on a passionate celebration in front of the equally elated travelling fans.
And while Oxlade-Chamberlain understands and embraces the battle for game time within the squad, he is determined to make such moments a habit and thereby increase his own opportunities.
“It’s never easy coming into a new team with as much quality as we’ve got here. It takes time to settle in and learn a new formation and style of play,” he told Liverpoolfc.com.
“I’ve had to be patient; I’d have liked to have played as much as I can, that’s natural. The only thing I can do when I get the chance is try to impress and help the team to win, with goals and creating chances.
“I’m going to keep trying to do that and keep pushing for starting places, just as everyone else will. That’s the best thing – competition for places.
“The most important thing is that we’re winning. I’m happy with the result and obviously it was nice to start as well.”
The win in the capital followed up back-to-back 3-0 results over Huddersfield Town and Maribor at Anfield as Klopp’s men responded strongly to their disappointment against Tottenham Hotspur.
Oxlade-Chamberlain revealed the boss had set his players a pre-match challenge of maintaining the positive mood before domestic football takes a fortnight’s pause.
“The manager said it could be a great week and it was up to us how good the week would be, and how nice the next week will be,” he said.
“We knew we had to win and we wanted to win. We wanted to finish on 19 points by the end of the game. The boys were right on it all the way through the game to get that done.
“It’s the international break now, we can go away and regroup and then hit the ground running again.”