Former Liverpool star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has opened up about the bittersweet nature of his Anfield exit last season, revealing he felt left in the dark during his final months.
The 30-year-old midfielder spent six seasons at Anfield after arriving from Arsenal on deadline day of the 2017 summer transfer window.
However, after 146 appearances, Oxlade-Chamberlain was offered no new contract and left the club on a free at the end of the 2022/23 campaign, as Liverpool embarked on a midfield overhaul.
Now at Besiktas, the 35-cap England international, who made just 13 outings in his final season for Liverpool, has opened up on the details of his departure, claiming he had no communication from the club that he would be released.
"I was out of the squad for the majority of the rest of the season, training with the team, then on matchdays training on my own.
"I carried on, kept my head down and did everything to make sure I was ready, but ultimately the manager was going in a different direction that was sort of out of my control.
"Some of the younger players were getting an opportunity to be involved, getting them ready for years to come, which I understand. I just guess you want that communicated to you because you start going out of your mind thinking, 'What more can I do here?' And it was never really written off that you’re not getting offered a new contract."
The injury-hit midfielder added that he understood his situation from 'the silence', but suggested the first official notice he received was when he was informed of the club's goodbye statement at the end of the season.
He continued: "[The decision] was never said. "I obviously got the picture. I got told before they released the statement: 'Just so you know, we’re putting this out about you, Milly [James Milner], Bobby [Roberto Firmino] and Naby [Keita] leaving'. And I was like, 'Oh, OK. Thanks'. But there was nothing official at any point before. It was just... the silence was enough to know what the situation was."
However, reflecting on the nature of his exit overall, the former Southampton star claimed the poor communication was 'a bit surprising', though he holds no ill will towards Klopp.
“I want to be the best person to everyone around me and a good person to have around the lads, the staff, stuff like that. You just… expect certain things to be told — whether it’s good, bad, whatever, that’s how the game goes. The lack of communication was… a bit surprising," he added.
“We (he and Klopp) had a good relationship. There was never any falling-out or anything like that. I understand as a manager it’s not easy to navigate every player’s needs, but when I was playing, I definitely enjoyed him a lot more than when I wasn’t even on the bench (laughs). But that’s how it goes.
“The longer I play the game, the more I realise you’re just an entity in the grand scheme of a business really. There will be many more after us and there were many more before, people who have had great experiences. I had great, great times at Liverpool. I couldn’t say anything bad about my time there. I wouldn’t even say it ended badly. At the end of the day, the club is bigger than any one player. Sometimes there’s bigger fish to fry.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain, who scored 18 times for the Reds in his spell at the club, opened his account for Besiktas with a match-winning strike against Super Lig opponents Kayserispor last month.