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Oxlade-Chamberlain not ready to return whilst 'others are fit' – Klopp

15:34 EAT 13/04/2019
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Liverpool 2018-19
The England midfielder has recovered from the anterior cruciate ligament injury he sustained 12 months ago but hasn't been able to break into the team

Jurgen Klopp says Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is not ready to return to his Liverpool team whilst “others are fit.”

The England winger has not featured in the Reds first team since sustaining a serious injury during the team’s Champions League semi-final win against Roma last April.

He returned to full training in March and has made a number of appearances in Liverpool’s U23 team as he continues his rehabilitation.

But Klopp says that, despite having recovered from the anterior cruciate ligament injury, there is no space in his team for the 25-year-old whilst the club continue their two-horse race with Manchester City for the Premier League title.

“It’s just been a long time,” Klopp told the Liverpool club website.

“He played 40 minutes against Derby [last month] and then 60 minutes in an internal game [on Tuesday]. He needs more minutes to play.

“It’s difficult because all the others are fit. How can I compare? It looks positive in training, like Joe [Gomez], but we need to make sure they are really ready.

“They were serious injuries. We want to have them for the future, not only one game. That’s why we try to be as serious as possible.”

Sadio Mane, who on Friday collected the Premier League player of the month award for March, is expected to start for the Reds when they take on Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday.

The Senegal striker missed training last week after injuring his hand but Klopp confirmed he will be fit to play against the Blues, whilst Georginio Wijnaldum also trained on Friday despite suffering from a back complaint.

“Sadio fell on his thumb and didn’t train yesterday. He should be OK today,” Klopp said. “Gini has a bit of a back problem but will train today.”

Liverpool could have lost their two-point lead at the top of the league by the time they face Chelsea, with City due to kick off against Crystal Palace earlier in the day.