Cody Gakpo reveals Jurgen Klopp convinced him his best position is as a STRIKER instead of on the wing… with Dutch star ‘enjoying’ new central role at Liverpool
- Cody Gakpo has enjoyed switching from a left winger to a No. 9 at Liverpool
- The 24-year-old scored seven goals after joining from PSV in January
- With Roberto Firmino’s departure, Gakpo could fill his false nine role long-term
Cody Gakpo has revealed that he is enjoying his new-found position as an all-out striker at Liverpool.
The 24-year-old scored seven goals after linking up with Jurgen Klopp’s men in January and found his feet when his new boss made him the focal point of the team.
It was a fruitless start to Premier league life for the Dutchman after his move from PSV, with no goals in his first six games, but he’s in no doubt that the positional change was responsible for his subsequent run of form.
Gakpo said: ‘Now that I’m playing at Liverpool I think it’s a nice position. I have become convinced that being a striker suits me.
‘It was a difficult period when I first arrived. He [Klopp] said what he wanted from me. In the beginning, of course, it took some getting used to, but I’ve enjoyed playing in that position in recent months.’
Cody Gakpo saw an uptick in form after switching to No. 9 from the left wing at Liverpool
The 24-year-old scored seven goals in his debut half-season under Jurgen Klopp’s direction
Gakpo had played as a striker in the Netherlands’ run to the World Cup quarter-finals in Qatar, but in the Eredivisie he was much more accustomed to playing a wide role.
Towards the end of the campaign, the former Dutch Footballer of the Year became a regular face in Liverpool’s starting line-up and endeared himself to fans with his industriousness.
Given the departure of Roberto Firmino, Gakpo could be the long-term successor to the beloved Brazilian, filling the false nine position that has been so influential during Klopp’s reign.
Gakpo said: ‘Guus Hiddink was the first [to play him down the middle]. He spent a while at PSV as a sounding board, saw me play and said: “You have to become a striker or a false No 9.” I didn’t want to believe it then. And then when Roger Schmidt said the same thing later at PSV when he was coach, I was even more stubborn. It felt good on the left flank.
‘But at the last World Cup I was already more central on the field and at Liverpool permanently in the past six months. It’s been good. I’m excited now to get better in the position in the near future, for the club as well as the national team.’
The Dutchman is currently on international duty with the Netherlands as they gear up to face Zlatko Dalic’s Croatia in the Nations League semi-finals.
The Oranje made the final in 2019 but succumbed to a Goncalo Guedes goal in a 1-0 defeat by Portugal at the Estadio do Dragao.
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