Peter Crouch has claimed that Jurgen Klopp can not start Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain against Manchester City on Sunday.
Liverpool welcome their main Premier League title rivals to Anfield holding a six-point gap, and the former Reds’ forward has suggested that the England international isn’t quite ready for that game yet.
Crouch admitted that the 26-year-old is impressing whilst chipping in with goals, something which is priceless to Liverpool but claimed that he believed he wasn’t at the peak of his fitness to cope with the demand of such a big game.
“He’s getting up to full fitness but what he is doing, he’s scoring goals and it’s a priceless commodity to have.
“I just think he’s not quite there to be starting games of the magnitude of the weekend but he’s knocking on the door as you say.”
It is hard to see past Klopp changing from his much-trusted midfield three of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, and Georginio Wijnaldum for the game against City. The three Reds’ midfielders have perfected their differing roles in the heart of midfield, and Oxlade-Chamberlain doesn’t exactly fit into one of those at this moment in time. When Liverpool have changed their system slightly in the games against Genk and Arsenal to fit in the 26-year-old and players such as Naby Keita, they have suffered defensively, conceding six goals in the two outings. Just one player out of position at Anfield on Sunday could see Man City capitalise to devastating effect, and Liverpool would look much more comfortable with the likes of Fabinho and Henderson sitting deeper. The Reds will be forced to defend more than they’re used too against Pep Guardiola’s side, and Oxlade-Chamberlain has only averaged 0.4 tackles per game in the Premier League according to WhoScored, something which could have been exploited by the visitors.