Liverpool cruised to a 5-2 triumph over Roma in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie on Tuesday, but the victory came at a severe cost.
Midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had to be stretchered off the field in the first half after sustaining what appeared to be a knee injury whilst going in for a challenge on Aleksandar Kolarov.
On Wednesday, the club’s worst fears were confirmed. A scan confirmed that Oxlade-Chamberlain sustained a “knee ligament injury” that will sideline him for the remainder of Liverpool’s campaign. The injury will also force the Englishman to miss the upcoming World Cup in Russia.
Finding the best betting sites is key if you’re going to be a successful bettor, but you won’t find many out there that would have given England favourable odds to win this summer’s World Cup, even before Oxlade-Chamberlain went down. Still, the unfortunate injury sets Gareth Southgate’s squad back even further.
Oxlade-Chamberlain had been in contention for a starting spot in Southgate’s starting midfield with England. He appeared in three of the team’s six World Cup qualifiers last year in addition to starting both recent friendlies for his country against Italy and the Netherlands.
This marks the second straight missed World Cup for Oxlade-Chamberlain, who made the 2014 squad as a 20-year-old before suffering a minor knee injury during a warmup friendly that forced him to miss the entirety of the tournament.
The Reds midfielder, who has scored 5 goals and assisted another 8 in all competitions, shared his thoughts on social media on Wednesday, saying he was "absolutely devastated".
Absolutely devastated to have picked up this injury at such a crucial time in the season. Gutted I won’t be able to play any further part now in our Champions League run for Liverpool, and also the World Cup with England. But now it’s all about supporting the boys and getting behind them. I know we have what it takes to do something special in this tournament. I’m going to give everything I have to make sure I’m back as quickly as possible. However, this all pales in comparison to how the family of the liverpool fan badly hurt before last nights game must be feeling. My thoughts are with him and his loved ones. Thank you for all your kind words, messages and support. I’ll see you soon. #YNWA
Liverpool issued a statement saying on Wednesday saying, “Liverpool FC can confirm Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s 2017-18 season is over for both club and country due to a knee ligament injury sustained against AS Roma on Tuesday evening.
"The 24-year-old was assessed by the club’s medical team at Melwood on Wednesday morning and no specific timetable is being placed upon his return to action at this stage.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain has become an integral part of Jurgen Klopp’s squad before suffering the injury. The player has made 42 appearances for Liverpool after signing from Arsenal on the last day of last summer’s transfer window.
He scored his first goal for the club in the team’s 7-0 drubbing of Maribor in the group stages of the Champions League. Oxlade-Chamberlain also scored a pair of stunners against Manchester City, including one in the team’s 3-0 win over the Premier League champions in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.
It will be interesting to see how Klopp approaches the midfield moving forward without such a key figure. With Emre Can and Adam Lallana also sidelined indefinitely, Klopp has just three fit traditional central midfielders remaining in Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum.
Wijnaldum came off the bench to replace Oxlade-Chamberlain against Roma, and one would imagine the Dutchman will assume that starting spot moving forward. However, with the Reds approaching the business end of the season, Klopp will be hoping that the remaining of his midfielders - who have clocked up a lot of minutes in recent weeks - can continue to remain fit.
It is currently unknown whether Oxlade-Chamberlain will be ready to return to the pitch by the time next season begins this coming August.
The Reds are currently third in the Premier League with three games left to play. A spot in next year’s Champions League looks all but assured at this point, as fifth-place Chelsea are eight points back, though the Blues do have a game in hand.
Liverpool face relegation candidates Stoke City at Anfield this Saturday before heading to Italy to play the second leg vs. Roma next Wednesday.
The Reds will close out the Premier League campaign with an away match at Stamford Bridge before the final game at Anfield against Brighton on May 13.