Klopp hopeful of quick Oxlade-Chamberlain recovery after training return

The England midfielder did some light running this week and could play before the end of the 2018-19 campaign

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is optimistic of welcoming Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain back from injury before the end of the season.

The 25-year-old has not played since undergoing surgery on damaged knee ligaments suffered against Roma in April.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was expected to miss all of the 2018-19 campaign as a result, but he returned to light training on Christmas Eve.

And having shown no adverse reaction, Klopp says some competitive outings this term is not beyond the realms of possibility for the ex-Arsenal man.

“Best news,” said Klopp ahead of the Premier League visit of Arsenal on Saturday. “He started going on pitch and from first step it looked completely normal.

“Sometimes you see players come back and be limping, but from first step Ox looked like Ox. No reaction, which was  even nicer.

“No pressure on him, but it looks like he could be back in normal training in February, late Feb or March and that means he could maybe feature this year.

“Its nice to have him around with a smile on his face. We are obviously really happy with his improvement.”

Though there had been no complications following the surgery, Liverpool had decided not to confirm the full extent of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury so not to distract from their Champions League campaign.

The England international played a key role in the Reds reaching the final only to miss out on the showcase against Real Madrid in Kiev.

And though it is still early in his recovery, Klopp is already targeting a Premier League return for Oxlade-Chamberlain.

“It’s a surprise [his rehab],” the German coach added. “It looks really good. Of course it needs time and each little muscle must now adapt to the intensity.

“If you look at the sessions he does outside he looks like he can play tomorrow but of course it is not possible. It’s a boost for the entire dressing room because he is such a big part of that.

“It’s a surprise. He’s ahead of schedule. That’s always good news. We try not to push him too much but we don’t want to hold him back.

“If he makes further steps like he did in the last few weeks he can play Premier League football this season which is nice to know.”

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