Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted he made a mistake by starting Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain during the Reds’ UEFA Super Cup win on Wednesday night.
The England midfielder has not made a start for over a year since his ACL injury last April, with Klopp placing him in the starting XI against Chelsea.
However, the 26-year-old looked out of place for much of the first half, touching the ball only 21 times and was soon substituted for Roberto Firmino – a move which rejuvenated Liverpool’s attack.
Of course, Oxlade-Chamberlain still needs time to regain match fitness, but throwing him in at such an important game was always going to be tough, something Klopp admits was the wrong call from him.
Despite getting praise from the German for his performance, Klopp did hold his hands up for the midfielder’s below par display.
“I didn’t say a lot to Ox [at half-time]. I don’t think it was necessary, because [for] Ox it was very important to have these minutes,” he told reporters.
“It’s a position he can play. He can play much better than he did tonight, but that’s how it is.
“After a long injury you have to get back the rhythm and in training it’s already there.
“And now in the game he had good moments, but of course not enough for his quality.
“But it was not about that. I saw it was a very intense game, so it was clear that we had to make that decision because we didn’t want to push him through.
“We want to give him the opportunity to perform, to shine if you want, and in those circumstances, on the position, it obviously was not as possible as we would have wished.
“But that’s then my mistake, not his mistake, because I made the decision.”