Opinion: Oxlade-Chamberlain shines for Liverpool as sizeable progression continues

The 24-year-old delivered a man of the match performance for Liverpool in a 4-0 rout against Bournemouth to take Jürgen Klopp's team back into the top-four.

Opinion: Oxlade-Chamberlain shines for Liverpool as sizeable progression continues
Chamberlain's brightest hour for Liverpool?

​Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ​received a heavy load of criticism when he first joined Liverpool ​in the summer for a reported fee of £35million.

Many quickly branded him as a waste of money having failed to consistently make the grade at Arsenal​, scoring just nine times in six seasons for the club. 

 

Heavy initial criticism for Oxlade-Chamberlain is waning fast

Such criticisms were heightened following his first performance for the Reds in which Leicester booted ​Jürgen Klopp's ​side out of the ​Carabao Cup​.

Misplacing a series of routine passes, Oxlade-Chamberlain appeared out of kilter with those around him, subsequently putting the team on the back-foot and succumbing pressure and ground to the home side.

Admittedly, Liverpool weren't really at the races that day, but the former Arsenal man's performance did little to assure Reds fans that he would evolve to become a successful transfer for years to come. 

Yet, months on, Oxlade-Chamberlain has adapted to life at Anfield, turning the screw for his new club since a bright cameo performance against Manchester United.​  A positive 20-minute spell saw the very best from the England international, with direct running culminating in a dangerous flurry of balls into the six-yard box.

That inevitably provided a 'lift off' moment for Ox, who has since scored his first goal for the club against Maribor in a 7-0 rout - helping to achieve the highest away win in the Champions League - before his first start in the Premier League against West Ham​; a game that brought about another goal for the 24-year-old.

Scoring seconds after Manuel Lanzini had put the home side back in the contest, the midfielder combined well with Daniel Sturridge before being unleashed through on goal, showing far more composure than his previous goalscoring record at The Emirates would suggest.

Photographed pumping his fist in the air while West Ham continued blowing their inaugural bubbles, his goal ensured that Liverpool took all the points from the London Stadium, maintaining their momentum in what was a dominant display. 

Then came Chelsea and a real show of faith from the manager. Fielding Oxlade-Chamberlain from the start, Klopp's surprise decision paid dividends in many respects, with the midfielder providing the assist for ​Mohamed Salah's ​opener when he prodded the ball beyond the defence.

Such an intricate piece of play was a marked improvement on previous weeks, having shown far more awareness of his teammates and the movement around him.

 

Ox delivers finest hour for Liverpool at the Vitality, on and off the field

​Such was the case against Bournemouth, where he was utilised in his favoured central position from the off. Showing ingenuity and positivity in possession, while providing a powerful, diligent presence off it, Oxlade-Chamberlain chipped in with a full-proof performance for Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.

Feeding Salah down the right-hand side, he recorded another assist to his name as the Egyptian notched his 20th goal of the season - the second fastest Liverpool player, joint with Daniel Sturridge, to reach such a tally in just 26 games. 

However, it was his all-round game that caught the eye at the Vitality Stadium. Combining well with ​Jordan Henderson ​and ​Georginio Wijnaldum, the Reds' No.21 displayed the energy and dynamism that Liverpool were so desperately lacking against West Brom ​in mid-week.

His excellence didn't stop at the final whistle either, with the Englishman stepping in after Philippe Coutinho was pressed about his future at the club.

Emphasising his teammate's professionalism and class on the field, there could be little arguments that this was Oxlade-Chamberlain's finest hour since becoming a Liverpool player. 

Having brushed off the irrational criticism his arrival caused, he continues to prove his worth to Liverpool, earning more and more plaudits week by week as he quietly turns doubters into believers.

Sunday was merely a stepping stone on an increasingly upward trajectory for the Englishman.