Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp feels Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has “unbelievable” potential in terms of goalscoring that was “not asked for too much” during his time at Arsenal.
The England midfielder, who scored nine times in 132 Premier League appearances for the Gunners, switched from them to Liverpool in August on transfer deadline day.
He is set to go up against his old club on Friday when the Reds visit the Emirates Stadium.
And Klopp said of the 24-year-old ahead of the game: “I think the biggest improvement, or the biggest potential he still has, is really being involved in goalscoring situations, because he has it in himself.
“It is unbelievable. But he was not asked for this too much I think in the past.
“If you watched Arsenal in the past, the two decisive players were (Alexis) Sanchez and (Mesut) Ozil. In a lot of moments, the decisive passes, Ozil or Sanchez. Or (Olivier) Giroud when he is coming on the pitch. Then you are not that much involved.
“Here, we put it on much more shoulders, and if he’s on the pitch he needs to be involved in situations like this.
“So I’m fine for the moment, it is all good, but I see really a lot of space for improvement as well, and that’s good.”
After a fairly slow start to his Liverpool career, Oxlade-Chamberlain has been producing some eye-catching performances of late.
He has scored twice in 20 appearances – seven of which have been starts – in all competitions so far for the Merseyside outfit, making the first XI for four of the last six league games.
Klopp said: “He had to adapt.
“He did well from the first day, but I know how it is if you’re kind of a big signing – then everybody expects you immediately on the pitch, and when you are on the pitch, then you have to perform immediately. But it’s difficult. A lot of things are difficult.
“I was happy from the first day about his involvement, about his attitude, and since then he became more and more a Liverpool player.”
Klopp suggested adjusting to the difference between Arsenal and Liverpool’s styles, as well as joining after the season had started, was a factor in how things have panned out for Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Regarding how Arsenal play, he also described Arsene Wenger’s men as a “complete football team” capable of changing styles, who, against his side, have “quite often…played a lot of long balls”.
Klopp said: “Against us most of the time (Olivier) Giroud played from the beginning, so that says a little bit about the style of Arsenal they have chosen against us very often.
“They are a complete football team, able to do everything. They can switch and change styles.
“Against us it happened quite often that they played a lot of long balls, with Giroud. But he cannot play (due to a hamstring injury) and that will change a few things maybe.
“But they are able to create, they are able to play football. They will have a strong side, whoever will play.”
Daniel Sturridge (illness and hamstring) and Joel Matip (adductor) remain doubts for Liverpool, while Alberto Moreno (ankle) is still out.
Stay updated with the latest news, gossip and football stories by following us @Football_P