Jürgen Klopp has identified Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s ‘potential and quality’ as the sole factors behind his development since joining Liverpool.
The Reds’ No.21 impressed once again during Wednesday’s 3-0 Champions League victory over Manchester City, with a stunning long-range goal at the Kop end representing the highlight of his all-action display.
Oxlade-Chamberlain revealed after that match that Klopp has urged him throughout the season to ‘take games by the scruff of the neck’ and ‘make the difference’.
However, the manager insists the 24-year-old deserves all the credit for how his game has evolved throughout the campaign.
“That’s all because of his potential, because of his quality,” Klopp said.
“We had a lot of talks and Oxlade loved Arsene Wenger, really. They were working together for six years or whatever and he never blamed Arsene Wenger for not improving enough or whatever, but sometimes it’s only about changing the circumstances, that’s it.
“Being in a different place can sometimes be better [but] only if you are aware of your problems.
“He always took it by himself, he thought ‘OK, I could do more, I could have done more to change something’, but he was aware of it - he was not coming here and saying ‘OK, come on, make the best of me, use me in the best way’ or whatever.
“From the first day he was ready for hard work, that’s the most important thing and so because of these new things he experienced, this different style of football that then gives you the opportunity to do a few things not like you are used to [but] in a new way and that has obviously helped him.
“That’s what we were hoping for, that when he came here he could make the next step with us, but it was never because of Arsenal or Arsene Wenger, it was always only because some things didn’t work out that well any more.
“It was never bad, only because Ox as a kid was an outstanding talent that people said it was not exactly what we had imagined, but he is an outstanding talent still and there is still a lot of things to improve - no problem with that.”
When asked specifically what Oxlade-Chamberlain can still improve on, Klopp continued: “In pretty much everything.
“We cannot make him quicker, and we don’t have to, we cannot really work on his technical ability because he is on the highest level already and is now using them in the right moment, the right spaces, in the right situations, making the best decisions you can make.
“That’s all good [but] all players can improve and that’s where he can improve of course as well.”