By Ian Parker, PA
Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Arsenal but could return for Sunday’s Premier League match at Crystal Palace, assistant manager Pep Lijnders has said.
The 28-year-old was forced off in the second half of Saturday’s 3-0 Premier League victory over Brentford at Anfield, soon after scoring the Reds’ second goal.
The problem rules him out of this week’s return to his former club Arsenal, but Lijnders revealed Oxlade-Chamberlain was optimistic of a swift return.
“If we speak about ‘Ox’ we should speak about his outstanding performance first of all,” Lijnders said. “He was very important for us, for the team, he played in so many different positions with a lot of quality.
“I spoke yesterday with him. He feels OK, not that bad really, and he’s hoping to make the weekend. Tomorrow it will be too soon but we assess it day by day.”
Lijnders also revealed that Thiago Alcantara is not expected back in training until after the international break at the end of this month, while Divock Origi is unlikely to return until after the FA Cup match against Cardiff early next month.
But there was better news on the injury front this week as Harvey Elliott, who suffered a dislocated ankle in September, returned to training and instantly impressed Jurgen Klopp and Pep Lijnders.
Although the 18-year-old will need time to regain his fitness, Lijnders said there were no signs of rust on his return.
“He didn’t lose his football brain during the time he was off,” Lijnders said. “Yesterday, it would be a crime not to play him when you see him train like that. Some players don’t knock on the door, they run through it and Harvey is a player like that.
“He’s coming back from a long term injury so we have to really take our time and it’s important he gets fit and prepares himself well. But it’s great to have him back.”