Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has pointed out that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is not a 'sure' starter for Liverpool, despite leaving the Gunners in August in search of more regular chances.
After years of being in an out of the Arsenal team and rarely playing in a fixed position, Oxlade-Chamberlain refused to sign a new contract at the Emirates Stadium, forcing the Gunners into making a £35m sale rather than risk losing him for free in 2018.
But having started only five Premier League games for Liverpool, including two of the last four, the 24-year-old is seemingly no closer to being a regular than he was at Arsenal. And Wenger has suggested it was wrong for people to assume the player's fortunes would suddenly change.
"Is he sure of a place [at Liverpool]?" the Frenchman is quoted as saying by The Guardian as the two clubs prepare to meet in north London on Friday evening.
"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," he added.
“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?'
"It doesn't work like that. Every player can [fight] and Chamberlain does it. I am convinced it's part of being a top player."
Former Arsenal star and Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson believes a regular position in central midfield is crucial for Oxlade-Chamberlain.
"I think you've got to put him in the centre, in the midfield three and say 'you are playing there' and leave him there for 10 games. He plays one game there, then he plays wing-back, on the wing and he just needs a position," Merson commented.