Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is on the brink of making his eagerly-awaited return to action after 11 months on the sidelines.
The England international is in contention to feature for the club’s under-23s in Premier 2 over the coming week.
Jurgen Klopp is keen for Oxlade-Chamberlain to get some game time under his belt for Neil Critchley’s side in order to build up his match fitness before considering him for a first-team comeback.
Liverpool will make a late decision on whether the 25-year-old is involved in Monday night’s mini derby against Everton at Anfield.
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If Oxlade-Chamberlain doesn’t play a part against the Blues then Friday’s clash at Derby County is likely to be his return date.
The £40million midfielder has made impressive progress since returning to full training last month.
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s commitment to his rehabilitation programme has ensured he’s regained fitness well ahead of schedule. Liverpool had previously feared that he would miss the entire 2018/19 campaign.
Alex continued his injury comeback at home this week
Speaking about Oxlade-Chamberlain’s fitness earlier this week, Klopp said: “Ox is doing 70% of team training.
“He trains fully but not as much as the others. Then he leaves a bit early to do something else and the things he needs.
“Everyone is always looking for a reaction but nothing has happened yet. We have to prepare him for his entire career, not just one particular game. When he’s in training it looks very nice.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain has been sidelined since he ruptured knee ligaments in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Roma at Anfield last April.
After learning that he needed surgery and was facing a long spell out, Klopp vowed “we will wait for Alex like a good wife when a man is in prison”.
Oxlade-Chamberlain grew in stature over the course of last season – scoring five goals in 42 appearances following his move from Arsenal.
His return will be a massive boost for the Reds as they chase Premier League and Champions League glory over the closing months of the campaign.