Liverpool transfer Cody Gakpo: What Jurgen Klopp can expect from the Netherlands and PSV Eindhoven striker

featured image

Cody Gakpo was one of the stars of the World Cup scoring three goals for the Netherlands and could be close to a move to Liverpool🇧🇷 The PSV striker can play on the left of an attacking trio or through the middle of the attack and was initially linked to a move to Manchester United but, Liverpool dove in with a quick and shocking transfer for the 23-year-old striker

With the injuries to Luis Diaz, Diogo Jotaand Roberto Firmino, Liverpool must feel their attack needs bolstering, while Gakpo could also allow them to move into a future without Firmino. Darwin Nunez has already been added to the front line but has struggled to find a finishing touch despite being in good positions.

Athletic adds that the initial fee could be around $44.6 million, with add-ons likely to be in the deal as well. Gakpo’s name was already rising ahead of the World Cup, but with Liverpool four points off the top four, astute additions could lift them into a Champions League place. Gakpo cannot be registered until the transfer window opens on January 1, if a deal is agreed now.

Manchester United have long been considered the likeliest destination for Gakpo, with manager Eric ten Haag putting pressure on the Dutch striker he managed to move against to follow him once he arrives at Old Trafford. But with talks set to begin between the two sides later this month, according to CBS Sports Football Expert Fabrizio Romanoit looks like Liverpool have moved ahead of their rivals.

A versatile striker, what does Gakpo bring to Liverpool?

Versatility in attack

A hallmark of Liverpool is being able to switch up front. Gakpo occupied the position of a striker here or as a second striker, with most of his minutes at left winger. It’s very similar to what Jota brings to the team when he’s healthy, but lately availability has been an issue for Jota. The signing of Gakpo will restore what Klopp was getting from Jota in the role, as well as facilitate the Portuguese striker’s return to action.

When Jota is healthy, Liverpool will have a rotation nightmare with Nunez, Diaz, Firmino and Gakpo for two roles alongside Salah, but that’s a good thing considering how many games the team has to play. At the start of the season, it was clear that some of the injury problems the Reds faced were down to their best players needing to log so many minutes with a quadruple in play later in the season, so having two full forward lines will help alleviate that voltage.

Can Gakpo continue to challenge his xG?

During the World Cup, Gakpo’s run of form was fueled by many low xG shots coming in that James Benge drew. While this isn’t a bad thing because good finishers often outperform your xG, one wonders how much of the run was a hot streak due to the small sample size versus being a great finisher.

twenty three

Also with 36 league goals and 38 assists for PSV in the Eredivisie game, Gakpo has been someone who has surpassed his xG in his career as he was expected to score around 27 goals. With PSV’s style of play allowing for a high volume of shots against weaker defence, it’s clear why this would happen and there could be cause for concern if Gakpo goes to a team where he doesn’t have the freedom to appear where he would like.

But at Liverpool, playing both on the left and in the centre, Gakpo will not only form part of an attack that is used to dominating games, he will also have excellent service from defenders and Mohamed Salah. Recent Eredivisie imports have had mixed success in the Premier League, with Hakim Ziyech, Memphis Depay and Donny van de Beek struggling, but with Antony fitting in for Manchester United and Luis Sinisterra shining when healthy for Leeds United, this crop of strikers could crack the trend.

Is Liverpool a contender for the title?

With the top four firmly in their sights, Liverpool will be able to raise their sights in an attempt to catch Arsenal. The Reds are 15 points behind the Gunners with the same number of games played, but a critical week in April when Liverpool face Manchester City and Arsenal could define the title race. It’s unlikely that Liverpool will be able to catch Arsenal, but it’s also unlikely that Arsenal can continue the season at their current pace with just one defeat. Dropping a few games here and there could see the balance in the Premier League shift and the Reds will be ready to pounce.