Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is likely to miss the whole of the forthcoming season, with the Premier League club saying Wednesday that they were already aware of the grim scenario.
The 24-year-old suffered multiple knee ligament damage during the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Roma in April and underwent successful surgery eight days later.
“The estimated length of his lay-off was not revealed at the time at the request of Oxlade-Chamberlain, who did not want the news to distract from the Reds’ ongoing Champions League run and the excitement surrounding it,” said a Liverpool statement.
Manager Jurgen Klopp told liverpoolfc.com that he was aware that the former Arsenal star would likely be unavailable for the 2018/2019 season.
!It feels like now is an appropriate time to tell people that for Ox this coming season will be about focusing on recovery and rehab,” said Klopp.
“We have known this from pretty much the day after he got the injury and after the successful surgery, we were sure of it. I hope everyone treats this information responsibly. There has been no change, no setback – it’s exactly on the schedule we expected and planned for. The new information is that we’re now giving more detail publicly.
“It is typical of Ox that he didn’t want the news to overshadow the end of the season and, to be quite honest, we thought we could wait and tell people at an appropriate time.
“His recovery has started superbly well. If we do see him back this season it will be a bonus.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Liverpool last summer from Arsenal in a £35million deal but the injury ruled him out of the Champions League final against Real Madrid and the World Cup with England.
“It is so important — because of how valuable and important he is to what we are looking to do here in the coming seasons — that the focus is on doing this right and not rushed. Ox is completely on board with this approach.
“He is such an outstandingly good person and someone who even when not playing is integral to the heartbeat of (training centre) Melwood.
“I cannot wait to have him back with us for matches, but we will wait for him and we will show the patience that is required to make sure he comes back ready to continue where he left off: as one of the most outstanding performers in European football in that moment.”
Klopp has already boosted Liverpool’s midfield ahead of the new season by signing Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri.