Cody Gakpo: Why Liverpool have signed PSV Eindhoven forward – but where will he play? | Football News | Sky Sports
Cody Gakpo boosted his appeal with three goals in five appearances at the World Cup – but why did Liverpool want to sign the 23-year-old forward and where will he play?
They have reached an agreement to sign the Netherlands international for a fee between £35m and £45m from PSV Eindhoven, beating rivals Manchester United to his signature.
Liverpool have looked to bring in another attacking player following long-term injuries to Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota in a bid to finish in the Premier League top four following a patchy start to the season.
So, what will he bring to Jurgen Klopp’s side and where will he fit in to their frontline alongside Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez? Sky Sports brings you the answers…
Gakpo has all the attributes to reach the top
Sky Sports’ Peter Smith:
During the World Cup, Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal said “Cody Gakpo has everything it takes to become a star” and the forward certainly looks like he is on the fast track to the top of the game after backing up his brilliant Eredivisie form in Qatar.
A goal in each group stage game – one with his head, one with his left foot and one with his right foot – was testament to his rapidly improving play in the final third, appetite for the big stage and versatility. His standout performances for Van Gaal came as a centre forward or No 10. At PSV he has shone as a left winger, cutting inside.
But those traits have not come about by chance – Gakpo is meticulous about his development, even hiring a personal tactics coach to analyse his game. His steadily rising goals and assists-per-90 minutes stats for his club show that extra homework is paying off.
That mentality will have impressed his suitors as much as his league-topping tally of goals and assists. At 23, Gakpo is already at a high level – but has the determination to get even better. That makes him an attractive investment.
Pace and drive running in off the flank; power and precision in his shooting; creativity as the Eredivisie’s top chance creator; skill and speed with his dribbling; aerial threat, as he showed against Senegal… Gakpo has all the attributes required of a modern forward and after his perfect treble at the World Cup had clubs across Europe scrambling for his signature before Liverpool won the race.
Why Gakpo signing makes sense for Liverpool
Sky Sports’ Joe Shread:
Gakpo’s versatility, professionalism and output on the field explain why Liverpool have decided to make their move for the PSV and Netherlands forward.
However, there are other elements that come into the equation. It’s tempting to believe Liverpool are signing Gakpo to spite Manchester United, given their rival’s reported interest in the 23-year-old, but it’s likely that injuries within Jurgen Klopp’s squad are far more of a factor.
Luis Diaz suffered a setback in his return from a knee injury earlier this month, with Klopp describing the news as a “proper smash in the mouth”.
The Colombia winger has not played since October 9 and there is no official timeframe on his return, while Diogo Jota is expected to be out until February with a calf injury. Roberto Firmino is also out until early next month with an injury of his own.
As a result, Liverpool’s forward options are reduced to Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made a rare start in the front three during the 3-1 win at Aston Villa on Boxing Day, while Fabio Carvalho, Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones – who is also currently injured – can also line up as wide forwards.
With Liverpool looking to make up ground in the race for the top four in the Premier League, as well as competing in the FA Cup and Champions League, the need to add to Klopp’s forward options amid so many injuries was clear.
Liverpool and their manager may also have assessed the impressive impact made by Diaz after his arrival from Porto in the previous January window and decided that the potential for Gakpo to do something similar was too big to ignore.
“You don’t expect miracles immediately from these kind of players,” Klopp told Sky Sports in March, two months after Diaz’s signing. “But he is not far away from doing exactly that.”
Miracles may be too much to ask, but Gakpo’s performances for both PSV and the Netherlands suggest he could provide a crucial boost for Liverpool in the second half of the season.
‘Gakpo gives Liverpool variety in attack’
Former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock told Sky Sports:
“The big thing Liverpool fans will be asking is, ‘is this a position that we need to strengthen?’
“They’re probably thinking that we needed centre midfielders and there’s been a lot of talk about Enzo Fernandez and Jude Bellingham over the past few weeks, as well as Sofyan Amrabat.
“But now when you think about the injuries to Luis Diaz and to Diogo Jota, it’s almost pushed them into a position where goals win matches and they’ve realised they need that.
“With the likes of Stefan Bajcetic in the squad and players coming back from injury in the form of Arthur Melo, the club feel they’ve got enough in the midfield to cover themselves.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if they did something else in the midfield but Gakpo is an exciting signing. His stats in the Eredivisie are exceptional but the big question now is whether he can do it in the Premier League and under the pressure of playing for Liverpool.
“The deal allows Liverpool to alternate between where to play him and Darwin Nunez. They can both play on the left and they can also play through the middle. It provides Liverpool with that option. It provides them with variety.”
Monday 2nd January 5:00pm
Kick off 5:30pm
The transfer window opens on Sunday January 1 for clubs in England and Scotland and if all the necessary paperwork is completed then Gakpo could be in line for a Liverpool debut on January 2, live on Monday Night Football on Sky Sports at Brentford.
Premier League rules require completed documents by midday of the last working day before the match. This season, January 1 and January 2 are considered working days.
Liverpool then host Wolves in the FA Cup third round on Saturday January 7 before returning to league action the following weekend at Brighton on Saturday January 14.
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