Wenger defends playing Liverpool-bound Ox at Anfield

Ian Watson

Arsene Wenger says Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was not to blame for Arsenal’s 4-0 defeat at Liverpool, just four days before the midfielder moved to Anfield.

Oxlade-Chamberlain joined the Reds in a move worth around £35million shortly after he had been part of the Arsenal team that suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Jurgen Klopp’s side – a loss that Wenger admits will ‘hurt for the rest of his life’.

Many observers questioned the decision to start Oxlade-Chamberlain when it was evident that a move to their opponents was imminent. But Wenger says the whole team failed to perform that day in August, not just the England midfielder, who was substituted after an hour.

“It would be not fair to put the defeat at Liverpool, where the whole team had a bad performance, on one player,” Wenger said.

“After that, on the other side, you analyse ‘did you make mistakes or not?’ You cannot go home and say everything was perfect when you lose like we did.”

Ahead of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s return to the Emirates with Liverpool on Friday, Wenger says he is unsure what reception his former player will receive.

“I don’t know,” he admitted. “I rate Alex highly and he knows that. After that, you want all the players to be respected who have played for us.”