Jurgen Klopp has backed new signing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to be a success at Liverpool, but added that the former Arsenal man will need time to settle at Anfield.
The Liverpool coach has used Oxlade-Chamberlain sparingly in the two weeks since he joined the club from the Gunners for £40 million, but confirmed the England midfielder will start against Leicester in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
The German said that sometimes players need a new start.
“It would be strange for me to say it after two and half weeks when Arsène Wenger said this after working with him for six years. But a new start is very often a kind of relief, that’s how it is. You are in a situation with your old club – and I don’t say this about Alex specifically – and you accept it and it is difficult to make the next step.
“I thought it made complete sense for Alex to change club and to come here. So far I can’t see that [he lacks self-belief]. He has settled in perfectly.
“He knows the situation. He played all the games for Arsenal from the beginning and now he comes here and is on the bench so it looks ‘Oh, not the best decision’ but it is long-term thing. We want to use him and to prepare him also. It is all good from this side at the moment.”
Klopp added that he thought too much expectation may have been placed on the player at a young age.
“I played against Arsenal when Alex was in centre-mid, when he was on the wing and when he was wing‑back. It is the highest quality if you can play in different positions in the Premier League. That says a lot about you. The judgment from outside may be that you don’t develop but playing different positions is development. Probably when Alex was 18 or 19 people thought he would be ‘The Man’ – as people think a lot of times pretty early – and immediately you put a rucksack on their back. That makes development not easy. He’s at a perfect age and is still able to make big steps.
“I thought he played the last game like a Liverpool player – highest intensity, not fixed on a position, flexible, in the box. I saw already a lot of things and in the end he didn’t hit the goal, so I’m sure a lot of people are now saying he is a proper Liverpool player – doing everything right but in the end not scoring. I am really happy to have him here. I hope he is also happy to be here.”