Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has taken a big step closer to a return to competitive action for Liverpool, coming through an hour in a behind-closed-doors friendly this week.
The England international started as a Reds XI, made up mainly of players from Neil Critchley’s under-23 squad, took on Bury at the club’s Academy in Kirkby on Tuesday afternoon.
Oxlade-Chamberlain came through unscathed, on what was his first outing since feeling his hamstring in an under-23s game against Derby last month.
The 25-year-old has been sidelined for the past 12 months since rupturing knee ligaments in Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final with Roma, but Jurgen Klopp was hopeful of having him back in contention before the end of this season, as the Reds bid for domestic and European glory.
Klopp admitted recently that he had made a mistake in getting “too excited” about Oxlade-Chamberlain’s return to training in February, and suggested he would take a more cautious approach with the former Arsenal man following his muscle scare at Derby.
But the sight of Oxlade-Chamberlain picking up significant minutes will be a boost to the German, no doubt.
Rhian Brewster also featured in the game, his second appearance since returning from a serious knee injury of his own. The 19-year-old striker suffered a knock to the hip when featuring in a friendly with American college side Northwestern University last month, but has been able to resume full training and, like Oxlade-Chamberlain, came through around an hour against Bury.
Joe Gomez had initially been slated to play in the game, but was given a late promotion to the senior squad due to an injury to Alberto Moreno.
The England defender has not played since fracturing his leg against Burnley in December.