Cody Gakpo unsure on “long-term plan” for Liverpool role – ask the manager!

Cody Gakpo has steadily grown into his false nine role at Liverpool since arriving in January, but is still unsure on the long-term plan.

Gakpo impressed for the Netherlands at the World Cup, scoring three goals as his nation reached the quarter-final stage, where they were knocked out by the eventual winners, Argentina, on penalties.

His performances in Qatar attracted interest from several clubs but it was Liverpool that signed the attacker, agreeing a fee of £37 million with PSV Eindhoven.

Since moving to Merseyside, the Dutchman has taken a while to settle in, with Jurgen Klopp opting to play him in a new centre-forward position, replacing Roberto Firmino in the team.

This is a new role for Gakpo, who was previously known for playing on the left and cutting inside onto his right foot.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 1, 2023: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo (C) is surrounded by Manchester City players during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. Man City won 4-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He has steadily growing into the position, though, and really announced his arrival at Anfield with two lovely goals in Liverpool’s 7-0 demolition of Man United.

Despite playing the majority of his football through the middle under Klopp, Gakpo has admitted that he isn’t sure where he will play in the long term.

Speaking to The Athletic, Gakpo said: “I’ve played almost all my games here in that false nine position.

“For me, it’s just a case of getting used to it. Whether that’s the long-term plan for me, you’d have to speak to the coach about that.”

The 23-year-old also explained how Firmino – who will leave in the summer after occupying the false nine position since 2015 – has helped him learn the role.

“Bobby is an amazing player and also an amazing person. He tries to help me [play that position] in any way he can and I really appreciate it,” added Gakpo.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 5, 2023: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates after scoring the seventh goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

During his time with the club so far, Gakpo has averaged just under one goal for every three matches played, while Firmino has a goal every 2.56 games across his Liverpool career.

The Brazilian’s job description hasn’t been to score the most goals in the team, though.

With Darwin Nunez and Mo Salah on either flank and Luis Diaz returning soon too, Gakpo will hope to end the season on a high.

He said: “Everyone helped me in the beginning to settle. I’m looking forward to working hard with the team, improving and winning games again.”

“The message from the manager [after losing 4-1 to Man City] was that we had to stick together, we had to keep going,” Gakpo continued.

“Everyone knows it’s been a difficult time but if we all stay together then I know things will turn for us.”