Liverpool have confirmed that midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is likely to the majority of the 2018-19 football season as he continues his recovery from knee ligament damage.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp even went as far to say “it will be a bonus” if the 24-year-old plays at all.
Oxlade-Chamberlain injured his knee during Liverpool’s Champions League semifinal with Roma in April and underwent successful surgery eight days later.
The Merseyside club say a timescale for Oxlade-Chamberlain’s recovery was not revealed at time because the 24-year-old did not want the developments to distract his teammates from their run towards the Champions League final.
“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,” Klopp told Liverpool’s website,
“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 surgery — which he had on the day of our second leg in Roma — has been completely successful and his recovery has started superbly well.
“But the truth of the matter is that we are preparing this season knowing he will not be with us on the pitch for competitive matches for the majority of it. If we do see him back this season it will be a bonus.”
“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,” Klopp added. “He is such an outstandingly good person and someone who even when not playing is integral to the heartbeat of 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.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain made 42 appearances during his first season at Liverpool following his £40 million move from Arsenal.