Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is expected to hand Liverpool a major boost in their title pursuit as he steps up his recovery from a long-term knee injury.
The midfielder has been sidelined since April after an unfortunate challenge on Roma’s Aleksandar Kolarov left him with multiple ligament damage.
He was initially pencilled in for a return for pre-season ahead of the 2019/20 campaign, but having taken a positive approach to his rehabilitation he is now well ahead of schedule.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is part of the Liverpool squad out in Dubai for a warm-weather training camp this week, and was pictured in light training outside with Dejan Lovren and Ben Woodburn on Monday.
Now, according to the Liverpool Echo‘s James Pearce, the Reds are set to welcome the 25-year-old back to action much sooner than planned.
He will reportedly be back in full training by “mid to late February,” and therefore “it’s realistic that he will be available for selection in March.”
Liverpool play five games in March, kicking off with a trip to Goodison Park for the Merseyside derby, before a home Premier League clash with Burnley and then the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich.
In all likelihood, Oxlade-Chamberlain won’t be considered for those three fixtures, given how long he has been sidelined, but the away meeting with Fulham on March 16 could be more sensible.
After that, there is a two-week break ahead of Tottenham‘s visit to Anfield on March 30, heading into a crucial six-game stretch in the league and a possible quarter-final in Europe in April.
The return of Liverpool’s No. 21 is huge news, as though not much should be expected of Oxlade-Chamberlain this season he proved pivotal to their success prior to his layoff last term.
Since then, Jurgen Klopp has added Fabinho and Naby Keita to his squad, strengthening his options, but the availability of a high-energy, progressive, goalscoring midfielder will be much-welcomed.