In Brief

Oxlade-Chamberlain return next season would be a ‘bonus’

Liverpool winger knew he would be out for a year but kept the news under wraps

Liverpool and England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss the whole of next season as a result of the knee injury he sustained in the Champions League semi-final against Roma in April.

He was carried off early in the first leg at Anfield after a tackle on Roma wing-back Aleksandar Kolarov.

“Having refused to offer a timescale for recovery when the injury was sustained, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has now confirmed he is prepared for the 24-year-old’s lengthy absence, suggesting any competitive return during the 2018-19 season would be a ‘bonus’,” reports The Daily Telegraph.

The news is a “shattering revelation for a player who missed the Champions League final and World Cup”, says the paper.

But it has also emerged that Oxlade-Chamberlain knew he would be out for at least a year within days of the injury.

As the Daily Mirror reports, the player “chose to keep that information under wraps, even from his team-mates, as he did not want to dampen the mood as the Reds went for Champions League glory.

“The news will come as a massive blow to Kop fans but the club have been planning for the last few months on the basis that he would be out for the majority of the campaign.”

By making the announcement now Liverpool and Oxlade-Chamberlain hope to shift focus away from his comeback, at least in the short term.

“He underwent surgery eight days after being injured, following consultation with the knee specialist Dr Andy Williams in London. The decision to confirm his rehabilitation schedule now is designed to manage expectations for the coming campaign,” says The Times.

Manager Jurgen Klopp said it would be a “bonus” if Oxlade-Chamberlain played next season.

Klopp said: “It feels like now is an appropriate time to tell people that for Ox this coming season will be about focusing on recovery and rehab.

“I hope everyone treats this information responsibly. There has been no change, no setback – it’s exactly on the schedule we expected and planned for. The new information is that we’re now giving more detail publicly.

“It is typical of Ox that he didn’t want the news to overshadow the end of the season and, to be quite honest, we thought we could wait and tell people at an appropriate time.”

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