Paul Merson says Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain found the going quite tough after being asked to play the false nine role for Liverpool against Aston Villa.
The Sky Sports pundit is not a fan of the position itself, and he feels that Oxlade-Chamberlain was not able to make an impact in the 1-0 victory yesterday afternoon:
“It has never been a position. So you are asking someone to play in a position that isn’t a position. So it was hard, it was hard for him. Villa sat very deep, they pinged them back. For me, I thought he found it a little bit difficult today.”
Considering Roberto Firmino has been superb playing in the same role in recent years, Merson’s criticism of the position is way off the mark.
He is, though, more on point when he is talking about Oxlade-Chamberlain’s performance. The former Arsenal star has never started a league game playing as the false number nine and it showed.
In some respects, the move was forced on manager Jurgen Klopp with Divock Origi sidelined with a knee problem and Diogo Jota only fit enough for the bench but it will, nonetheless, go down as a failed experiment that may not be seen again anytime soon.