Belfast Telegraph

I must do better to nail down my place: Ox

 

On the ball: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain strides ahead against Arsenal
On the ball: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain strides ahead against Arsenal

By Carl Markham

Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sets himself exacting standards and was not impressed with his role in a crazy Carabao Cup win over former club Arsenal.

The 26-year-old, making only his sixth start of the season after missing all but 20 minutes of the previous campaign with a serious knee injury, scored his third goal in a week in the 5-5 draw, which the Reds went on to win 5-4 on penalties.

However, the England international accepts he was far from his best and knows he will have to improve if he is to force his way into Jurgen Klopp's midfield more regularly.

"Quality-wise, I am not too happy with my performance," said Oxlade-Chamberlain. "I wasn't great on the ball and not near my own personal level of where I want to be. I put in a good shift and run a lot.

"I watch the boys on a weekend and I know what it is about here. You have got to be at a really high physical level to go and put in a performance like that.

"Fab (Fabinho) did really well at the weekend, so I need to keep pushing myself and maybe I will get a chance."

In Oxlade-Chamberlain's favour is his goalscoring threat from deeper positions, with his three goals in 12 appearances already making him Liverpool's joint leading scorer from midfield with James Milner (two of which have been penalties).

He has scored eight times in 55 appearances for the club and most have been far from ordinary. The quality of his strike from distance against the Gunners meant even Oxlade-Chamberlain allowed his emotions to take over despite pledging to himself not to celebrate against his former club.

"At the minute they are not tap-ins, let's put it that way," he added. "It was a pretty good goal, so it was really hard to keep the celebrations in, but that is always something that I knew I would do against my former club.

"I always want to show a lot of respect for Arsenal and what they did for me and the times I had there. I didn't want to celebrate but it was a tough one to hold in. I wanted to take my shirt off and go mad. I have been given license to shoot from outside the box and the last few games I've managed to do that. Hopefully it continues."

A Liverpool side showing 11 changes from Sunday's win over Tottenham, and including four teenagers, twice came back from two goals down to equalise for the final time in the fourth minute of added time.

It is a trait the first-choice XI have developed but which has been transferred throughout the squad and to the club's academy.

"It's a mentality, and the fans and atmosphere here help massively. It went to 4-2 and at that point the crowd can really drop, but I don't remember them dropping," said Oxlade-Chamberlain.

"They kept us going at 4-3, when it went 5-4 again after making it 4-4, they were still right there until the end, that helps us massively.

• Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka has revealed death threats against his wife and messages wishing his daughter got cancer pushed him to "boiling point" and that is why he lashed out at fans.

The Switzerland midfielder appeared to swear at fans as he was jeered while being substituted during Sunday's 2-2 Premier League draw with Crystal Palace.

That promoted even more fury among the Gunners' faithful, but Xhaka has moved to explain his actions.

"My feeling of not being understood by fans, and repeated abusive comments at matches and in social media over the last weeks and months have hurt me deeply," he wrote on Instagram.

"People have said things like 'We will break your legs', 'Kill your wife' and 'Wish that your daughter gets cancer'. That has stirred me up and I reached boiling point when I felt the rejection in the stadium on Sunday."

He added he was 'sorry' if people felt he had been disrepectful.

Carabao Cup quarter-finals

Oxford United v Manchester City

Manchester United v Colchester United

Aston Villa v Liverpool

Everton v Leicester City

Ties are scheduled to take place the week commencing December 16. Liverpool's tie is likely to be rescheduled as they play in the Fifa Club World Cup on December 18

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