Jurgen Klopp confirms Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to play for Liverpool U23s on Friday
Last Updated: 07/03/19 5:32pm
Jurgen Klopp has confirmed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is ready to take a significant step on his road to full fitness by participating in Liverpool U23s' fixture with Derby County on Friday afternoon.
The midfielder will make his first appearance since sustaining a knee ligament injury in the Champions League semi-final tie with Roma at Anfield last April.
"The plan is to give him some match time" Klopp told the club's website.
"All that we saw so far in training looks really good, it looks really exciting, but we all know it is a massive difference between each training session you have and playing a proper game.
"It's not about the opponent, it's about judging situations, a bigger pitch, higher intensity, a different concentration level.
"The preparation for a match is different to a normal training session, so players after a long period [out] need to get used to that.
"There is absolutely no expectation on the game [for him] apart from go through it, tick that box, come back and go on training again.
"It doesn't say anything about him 'being ready for five days later' or whatever, it is just a first - and very, very important - step.
"As I said, in training Ox is back but now we have to make sure we really prepare him for the rest of his career and the rest of this season."
"Probably it will be 45 minutes and that's absolutely OK. It is a bit difficult for Critch (Neil Critchley, U23s manager) when the manager tells you to make a change at half-time, but it's nice for Ox."
Klopp added it is unlikely Oxlade-Chamberlain will be considered for any involvement at first-team level until after the forthcoming international break at the earliest.
"Let's see how he reacts, how he feels and all that stuff," he said. "But it is not in the plans, there is nothing to think about before the international break, but this game, maybe another game and having a bit longer and then having the international break, which from now is around three weeks I think, so then let's see."