Oxlade-Chamberlain to miss Champions League, World Cup; what it means for Liverpool, England
The Oxlade-Chamberlain suffered a knee ligament injury in Liverpool's 5-2 Champions League win on Tuesday
The injury bug has struck Liverpool and the England national team. Liverpool announced that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's 2017-18 season is over for both club and country due to a knee ligament injury. He played just 18 minutes of the first leg of the Champions League semifinal against Roma on Tuesday, a 5-2 win for the English club. The team also made note that there is no specific timetable for a return and that he will now begin rehab:
The extent of the injury means Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to miss the remainder of the campaign for Liverpool, as well as the World Cup finals in Russia with England.
The 24-year-old was assessed by the club's medical team at Melwood on Wednesday morning and no specific timescale is being placed upon his return to action at this stage.
It's a tough break for Liverpool because Oxlade-Chamberlain showed signs of improvement with each passing month since his summer arrival from Arsenal, and it's also a blow for England. Here's what it means for both teams:
What this means for Liverpool
You can tell how much his importance has increased just by looking at the numbers. Oxlade-Chamberlain only played in four of the Reds' first eight Champions League games of the season (six in group stage, two in round of 16), logging a total of 147 minutes. But Jurgen Klopp opted to start him against Manchester City in the quarterfinals, and he played all but five minutes over the two legs, while scoring a fantastic and critical goal in the first leg at home.
That's 85-plus minutes in the two quarterfinal legs, and he had only played 85 minutes or more eight times all Premier League season for the club. His increased playing time is the result of a variety of factors, including Emre Can's injury and him simply performing better, so not having him will be a blow if Can isn't back healthy soon.
It's not a campaign-breaking injury by any stretch, but it's a blow as he's been showing some quality in the side as of late.
What this means for England
It's difficult to tell if he would be a starter for the English national team at the World Cup. My hunch is that he would be brought in off the bench, but that he would play. He's a guy with speed, an improving ability in the final third and could be key in games where England has to go forward. England has quality in the middle in guys like Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Jordan Henderson, and it's hard to see Oxlade-Chamberlain being picked before any of them.
So in the end, it's a pretty big blow for both teams. For England, it means a spot has opened for the final 23-man roster, one that could maybe go to his Liverpool teammate Adam Lallana. But Liverpool and England are in the same spot -- they lose a potentially important contributor and have to scramble to see who can come in to take his minutes and lead them closer to their ultimate goal.
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