Jurgen Klopp has left Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out of his Liverpool side to face Manchester United as the midfielder “needs more time to adapt”.
The England international was expected to come into the Reds’ XI for a meeting with the Red Devils following an untimely injury to Sadio Mane.
Klopp has, however, opted to bring Emre Can back into the middle of the park, with Philippe Coutinho filling an attacking post alongside Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
Liverpool spent £35 million acquiring Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal over the summer, but have restricted him to just 72 minutes of Premier League action so far.
Klopp told Sky Sports on his latest benching of the 24-year-old: “Ox just needs a little bit more time to adapt. He was always interrupted by two-week international breaks; always when he starts taking the next step then international break.
"These boys are used to each other and they know about [each other’s] ways, so I think it makes sense against United that we do not make a lot of experiments because they are quite cool in their approach.
“They are convinced about what they are doing; sometimes a little bit deeper, sometimes a little bit higher. They don’t need 80 per cent of the ball to feel dominant in the game, so you need a formation in which everybody knows what the other player is doing in each situation.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s time may still come, with Liverpool expected to be without Mane for around six weeks.
They have important Premier League and Champions League games on the horizon, so Klopp is likely to shuffle his pack at some stage.
For now, Oxlade-Chamberlain will be forced to make do with a place among the substitutes and cling to the hope that he can make an impact off the bench.