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Arsene Wenger's words of warning for Oxlade-Chamberlain as he returns to Arsenal

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Arsenal's clash with Liverpool tonight is set to be a huge game in the career of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The Englishman left the Emirates for Anfield in a £35m deal on transfer deadline day, with a public desire to gain more regular football and play in a central midfield role his reasons for leaving.

It ended a six-year stay for Oxlade-Chamberlain in north London, having signed from Southampton in 2011 for £15m, earning 27 caps for his country during that time.

Despite playing 198 games for Arsenal, and scoring 20 goals, his publicly-known desire to leave the club meant he left the Gunners in somewhat acrimonious circumstances, which would've been worse had he opted to sign for Chelsea instead.

However, he opted for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool, and he is beginning to adapt to the German's unique style of play.

Given his poor record in front of goal, never scoring more than twice in a Premier League season for Arsene Wenger's men, a move into central midfield seems a sensible decision.

And as Klopp has rotated his squad with 69 changes to his team this term, which is more than any other manager, Oxlade-Chamberlain has begun to get the regular football he desired.

He's started five of the last eight games, and impressed during the Reds' 4-0 win over Bournemouth last Sunday, registering the assist for Mo Salah's goal.

AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool - Premier League

His former boss, Wenger, had some sharp words for him as he prepares to return to the Emirates though.

Wenger believes he is no more sure of a starting berth at Anfield as he was at Arsenal, and said that big players must fight for their places.

"Is he sure of a place there [at Liverpool]?" he said.

West Ham United v Liverpool - Premier League

"No? That’s the answer. You are sure of a place nowhere. In a big club, you have big competition for every single place. That is absolutely normal.

"What do you want? To be a big player and not have to fight? What do you want on top of that – sitting in your rocking chair and saying: ‘I’m a big player? I don’t need to fight?’ No. It doesn’t work like that.

"Every player can do that and Chamberlain does it. I am convinced it’s part of being a top player."

Arsenal v Chelsea - The Emirates FA Cup Final

Oxlade-Chamberlain was entering the final year of his contract when he was sold by Arsenal, who chose instead to hang on to Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, whose deals are also expiring.

Wenger explained that the Englishman was let go because the player 'made his decision', and that it was the best deal for the club.

"At the end of the day, I decided to sell one," he continued.


"Chamberlain made his decision and we had to find a compromise to get the best possible transfer out of it.

"I personally think he will be an important player for England and that he will continue to develop."

Oxlade-Chamberlain will certainly have a point to prove to his former employers, and will be hoping to have a big hand in securing Liverpool's place in the top four for Christmas with a win.

Arsene Wenger
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Aaron Ramsey
Premier League

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