The Curious Case of Cody Gakpo

On Dec. 28th, 2022, Liverpool signed one of the brightest prospects in Dutch football. He caught the eye of many Premier League teams with his performances at the 2022 World Cup. So much so, that the Mighty Manchester United believed they had signed him. Tottenham Hotspur believed they had as well. Unfortunately, they underestimated Liverpool’s pulling power under Jurgen Klopp and Cody Gakpo was to be our player.

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So how do you endear yourself to your new employer’s fan base? Simple really. You score in your first Merseyside Derby and score two stunners United in a 7-0 victory. Sounds easy I know. But his first against United was a thing of beauty. It was Cody coming off the left to open the scoring with aplomb. I don’t think I need to explain how good the second was. The rest of that season he was one of the main reasons Liverpool came from nowhere to nearly get a Champions League spot when it seemed impossible halfway through the campaign. He kept Captain Chaos Darwin Nunez out of the team, which today also seems impossible. Yet, fast forward to this season.

Misplaced Blame

Stats from Sky Sports this season reveal that Cody Gakpo is in the top five of Liverpool’s best pressers. Moreover, he has more pressures (both resulting in turnover and total) than any other Liverpool attacker, including Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah, and Darwin Nunez. He has thirteen goals and five assists. Five of these goals have been in the league. He has been a major force in the League Cup which we won, scoring in 4 consecutive games. His four goals in six matches in the Europa League propelled Liverpool to the last eight. Yet he seems to be getting ridiculous criticism from pundits and fans alike. Why?

Jurgen Klopp has admitted as recently as last weekend, that it is his fault Gakpo’s season hasn’t looked the prettiest. The gaffer referenced how he has constantly used Cody to plug gaps due to injury.

Still Finding His “Best” Spot

Klopp has tried him through the middle – as a sort of Roberto Firmino-lite ‘false 9’ – as well as the most advanced midfielder in an adventurous 4-2-3-1 system. He’s played on the right of a front three and also in the center of midfield.

The Netherlands international has occasionally been deployed on the left of the front three, where he made his name in the Eredivisie. Considering Luis Diaz’s performances throughout the season (some good, some bad) is there a case for Klopp to give Gakpo a proper go in the position which made us sign him?

ASTV Shorts: Time To Move Gakpo To The Wing?

This season Cody has yet to properly convince everyone in any of the positions he has played. However, that perhaps does a disservice to the importance of his current status within the squad.

The People Vs. Cody Gakpo

Last week, Reds legend Jamie Carragher took issue with his performance against the Red Devils following his introduction as a substitute, declaring he ‘plays like the game is in slow motion’.

Maybe as an ex-pro, Jamie could understand he is lacking rhythm. Firstly, an injury suffered against Tottenham at the end of September took time to bounce back from. More recently, finding himself in and out of the side in an ever-changing position doesn’t help. This leaves a player lacking form and low in confidence as a result. Things aren’t quite clicking for Gakpo on the pitch at the moment. But it’s not a long-term concern, having already shown his quality during his time at Anfield. As the old saying goes, form is temporary, class is permanent.

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Cody Gakpo is an outstanding talent. There is a reason why Liverpool paid the guts of 40 million pounds for his services and ensured he didn’t sign for one of our rivals. He’s proved he has quality, he’s proved he has what it takes. Maybe it’s time the fans showed him a bit more respect and understanding of why his form has dipped. He’s a young man who on the face of it, seems humble, enjoys what he does for a living, and more importantly, wants to win football matches and trophies for Liverpool Football Club. Give the lad some leeway.

Another Monday of looking for answers as we look at the recent struggles but put all of it in perspective as we talk about the 35th anniversary and what it means to us
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