Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played in his first game in 11 months on Friday, as the Liverpool midfielder appeared for their U23 side against Derby County.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, 25, was supposed to play the first 45 minutes of the game but he came off after just 40 minutes and was shown clutching his right hamstring at times during the first half.
The Ox signalled that he wanted to come off just before the break and didn’t look too happy as he trotted off the pitch.
Our partners at Sky Sports have footage of the moment Oxlade-Chamberlain’s involvement in the game came to an end.
Reporters at the game said the England international walked straight off the pitch with a physio and headed back to the dressing room area, but seemed to be moving okay.
Liverpool’s U23 coach Matt Critchely gave a few more details on the injury the Ox suffered.
“He obviously had a bit of an issue but hopefully it’s nothing major,” Critchley said. “The bonus for him is that it’s not his knee, so he’s delighted there are no problems with that. He was enjoying himself, he was happy to be back playing. Hopefully when he wakes up in the morning, fingers crossed it’s nothing and only a precaution. The idea was only ever to play him for 45 minutes at most anyway. He nearly got that, as well. Hopefully it’s not as bad as it first looked. He was looking over [to the bench] and we weren’t sure. It’s maybe some kind of muscle problem and maybe one to assess tomorrow. What was good is that he was sensible. He came off quite quick. He has handled that situation quite well.”
After the serious knee injury he suffered in the UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg against Roma last April, this was one of the final steps in Oxlade-Chamberlain’s recovery.
It is not uncommon for a player to be overcautious in these situations, so watch this space.
Jurgen Klopp will no doubt be sweating on the latest diagnosis on Oxlade-Chamberlain, as having the combative midfielder available for the final months of the season would be a massive boost for Liverpool’s manager.