Jürgen Klopp hailed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after the midfielder made an impact for Liverpool in the Premier League and Champions League this week.
He then made his first Champions League appearance for over 18 months as he started against Genk on Wednesday, before going on to score twice to help the Reds to a 4-1 win.
His performances this week led to Klopp having to field questions in his pre-Spurs press conference over Oxlade-Chamberlain's inclusion in the starting eleven, with Klopp welcoming the competition between his players.
On rotating his squad, Klopp said: “It depends on the game you play, it depends on the situation they are in, it depends on the sessions they have, how they show up. There are plenty of reasons for how I make decisions.
“But it was really nice to see against United how well they did and how big the impact was in a specific game. It was one of the reasons why we thought, Genk, we will have similar situations, so we should try exactly that.
“If good games of players would give me headaches then my life would be really sad! It is just nice. He (Oxlade-Chamberlain) had a big impact in the United game obviously and a big impact in that [Genk] game as well. That’s how a player should act.
“It’s no secret how much I like Ox as a person and as a player, but in the end it is about being ready for the specific moments.
“The goals were incredible, absolutely incredible. The second one, I didn’t see one like this for a long, long, long time, if ever, because it really was a very special moment.
“And the first one is something that Ox is obviously able to do, the unexpected shot. Unfortunately, he doesn’t shoot so often that it will always be unexpected.
“But it was good – no headache, just a bigger selection, more players to choose from. That’s what I do. We decided for that game because of fresh legs and we will try to find the best line-up for the Tottenham game as well.
“Of course, the last game is always important information but not the only one, so let’s see.”
It was a long road to recovery for Oxlade-Chamberlain, who suffered a serious knee injury against Roma in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Roma in April 2018.
“It was [a] very, very serious [injury] but he is now a long time back. But the longer you are out, the longer you need to get back. That’s the problem with it,” Klopp added.
“In the best moment of your career, you don’t think too much, you just do. It’s really about just feeling the game, doing the right stuff, using your skills. That’s the main thing you lose. In rehab you get fit again, but your flow and your rhythm, finding it is not too easy. That can sometimes happen coincidentally in a specific situation – scoring a goal, having a wonderful dribble, having a sensational cross.
“But to be really reliable again, that you can really rely on these things again, needs time. That’s why we never lost patience. Why should we?
“For a player, it is more difficult not to lose patience with yourself because you still remember what you could do, but it’s not so easy to do it now. So it needs time.
“He has made big steps in the last couple of weeks, really big steps. My expectations of Ox are pretty high; I am impressed with the goals but there is still more to come. He knows that; I know that, so it's all good.”
It will be intriguing to see whether Oxlade-Chamberlain starts against Tottenham on Sunday, with the midfielder having done more than enough to warrant a starting place.