Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's wealth of footballing ability means he can be deployed in several positions for Liverpool, according to Jürgen Klopp, who believes he has sufficient squad depth to rotate his line-up this season.
A deadline-day signing from Arsenal, Oxlade-Chamberlain is in line to make his Reds debut in Saturday’s game at Manchester City after reporting to Melwood for the first time on Wednesday following the international break.
During his press conference to preview the trip to Etihad Stadium, Klopp - who also confirmed he has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the weekend - was asked to outline where he sees the England international fitting into his team.
“A few positions, that’s how it is,” the boss told reporters at Melwood.
“He’s a very good football player, that helps a lot! He’s good in small spaces, really good in big spaces, good dribbler, good passer, so [he has] a lot of things I really like and that means you want to have him on the pitch as often as possible. He fits really well in the squad and that means he immediately fits really well in different line-ups.
“In the system we play at the moment, that’s not fixed for the next seven or eight months, but in the system we play at the moment he can play four positions - both No.8s and both wings, that’s how it is. We play in a specific way and we want to use him in these positions.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain was one of four new arrivals at Anfield during the summer transfer window, with Klopp also recruiting Mohamed Salah, Andy Robertson and Dominic Solanke.
Liverpool’s return to the Champions League means they are fighting on four fronts this season, but Klopp is in no doubt that he has the necessary quality and quantity of players at his disposal to compete, regardless of who he selects to start.
And that point, the boss feels, was proven when he made five changes ahead of the Reds’ 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace in August.
“You have to respect, accept, this at the beginning of the season,” he said, in response to a question about rotation.
“I cannot, and I’ve said it a few times, that I cannot keep all players happy each second of the day, that’s how it is. But yesterday when they were all in the dressing room, we had a little meeting and spoke about this – ‘if you look left and you look right, there’s pure quality’ and if we’re smart enough use this quality, then it’s possible to be successful this season.
“If somebody who’s not involved loses confidence, I cannot change [that] because I can say in this moment ‘I respect all of you and you’re only here because I need you’, that makes it then, for me, easy. It’s always a decision for one game.
“What I learned about this team so far, the players react really well in situations like this. We made a few changes against Crystal Palace and it was a different performance but that was also because of the opponent, but it was really good and especially good enough to win the game with a few wonderful individual performances, so that’s the situation.”
Klopp continued: “Football will change in the next few years, hopefully, because nobody will leave a few games out and say ‘OK come on, give them a little rest, we don’t need football this week or that weekend’.
“So we need to perform all the time and we need to be ready all the time and for this we need obviously more players than a team or football club needed in the past.
“That means we have to rotate if we can, for two [reasons]; to keep the intensity level up, that’s very important, and to minimise the risk to get injured players because most injuries happen because players play too often.
“If you are successful you can go until 60 games a season, and nobody should play 60 games. If you played football for 10 years, 60 games a season, that would be 600 games, I don’t think anybody ever had anything like this.
“If you use a player all the time, it’s kind of accepting injuries and we have to adapt to this situation. We want to be ready for each game and that means line-ups can be different, that doesn’t mean you have to change from one game to the other because rhythm is also important, but yeah, we need the options and now we have the options. It’s good.”